Sunday, March 8, 2015

Huervos Rancheros with Rice & Beans

This is my favorite breakfast.  I’ve had some great versions in restaurants and diners over the years and I’ve always wanted to give it try at home.  If you Google it you’ll get back over 400K recipes, so there are all sorts of ways to approach it, some more traditional than others, some complex and some simple.  I reviewed a handful of recipes and combined some thoughts and came up with this quick and easy version.


Rancheros Sauce


1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 diced onion
1 can green chilies
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
¼ tsp crushed garlic
Fresh ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
Avocado oil (or oil whatever you have on hand)

  1. Sauté the onion and garlic in avocado oil for a few minutes in a skillet
  2. Add the diced tomatoes and green chilies, including the juice from the cans
  3. Roughly chop 2-3 chipotle peppers and stir into the mixture along with a teaspoon of the adobo sauce
  4. Stir in a small handful of chopped cilantro
  5. Add some fresh ground pepper and a pinch of salt
  6. Continue to stir and simmer for a few minutes
  7. Transfer the mixture into a food processor or blender (I used our Magic Bullet) and pulse a couple times, to smooth things out a bit but not so much that it turns into a puree
  8. Transfer back into the skillet and set aside and keep warm

Rice & Beans (optional)

I made this as a side because we happened to have some left over rice around.  My kids love it.


4 cups of cooked rice
1 can of pinto beans, rinsed
1 small can of black beans, rinsed
1 jar of pickled jalapeños (this is the secret ingredient)
¼ tsp crushed garlic
Fresh ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
Avocado oil (or oil whatever you have on hand)

  1. Add a few tablespoons of oil to skillet and once hot add the pinto and black beans
  2. Sauté for several minutes, stirring frequently – ideally some of the beans will start to develop a crunchy coating but in general you don’t want the skins to split
  3. Add the rice and a little water, and continue to sauté stirring frequently; add a little more oil if you need to
  4. Add a dusting of cumin, fresh ground black pepper and salt to your taste
  5. Drizzle in a couple tablespoons of pickled jalapeño juice from the jar; sprinkle a few of the pickled jalapeños in too if you like it spicy
  6. Stir in a handful of chopped cilantro
  7. Set aside and keep warm
Alternate riff: If you prefer to stay away from the pickled jalapeños, use the juice of couple limes instead

The Main Event

The main event is the egg and corn tortilla combined with the rancheros sauce.  You can buy soft corn tortillas and fry them in oil, or lightly pan fry them in a skillet with just a touch of oil (or cooking spray), or you can buy them ready made from the supermarket as I did.  When you buy them, they come in a sleeve and basically look like a regular corn taco shell but are flat instead.


1-2 eggs per serving
1-2 corn tortillas per serving
Cojita cheese*
Diced jalapeño pepper (optional)

* I actually prefer Queso Fresco, which is a fresh cheese that it widely used in Mexican cooking.  However, its shelf life is only a couple of weeks and I often don’t get through it all in time.  A good substitute is Cojita, which is a dry aged cheese similar to Parmesan.

  1. Using your skillet again, fry 1-2 eggs per serving; be careful not to overcook it, you want the whites just done enough with the yolk still a bit runny so that when you cut into it, it oozes over everything and creates an awesome mess
  2. Place 1-2 corn tortilla on a plate
  3. Place a scoop of the rancheros sauce over the tortilla(s)
  4. Place the egg(s) over the rancheros sauce
  5. Place a scoop of the rice and beans off to the side (if you make this optional side)
  6. Sprinkle some chopped cilantro across the plate
  7. Sprinkle some diced jalapeño across the plate (optional)
  8. Grate some Cojita cheese across the plate

 For Technologists

This breakfast came out great – I think because I didn’t focus on following a recipe but instead I committed to a vision I had of the end product.  I had acceptance criteria – it had to be easy and relatively quick to whip up, it had to taste great and have just the right amount of spicy kick.  If I executed it well and was happy with the result, I could always address mechanics of the recipe afterwards, so that it would be repeatable for next time.  Isaac talks about this approach and more in his recent post Ten Ways To Improve IT Culture with Agile, DevOps, Data, andCollaboration.


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