Beautiful Saturday morning? Not a responsibility in the world? How about a big, heavy Mexican breakfast?I made this a little too late to enter it into the latest "bean-themed" round of Is My Blog Burning? (Hosted on My Little Kitchen), but the beans do play a crucial role so I figured I'd offer it up anyhow.
I attended high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a beautiful state with a singular cuisine that borrows heavily from Mexican but has many features of its own. Huevos rancheros has a special place in my heart, reminding me of gargantuan parties along the Rio Grande followed by pilgrimages to a late-night diner to stuff ourselves, camping trips in the Jemez mountains, and other adventures of my mispent youth.
Though it never seems to be presented or to taste the same at any two restaurants, the common ingredients are fried eggs, beans, and torillas. It wasn't until my sister Kim made it for Christmas breakfast a couple years ago that it occurred to me that I could actually make the stuff. Since then I've made many variations, but I think this is the best one. I used black beans sauteed with fresh tomatoes, roasted garlic, and freshly ground cumin. I also made an extremely tasty chile arbol sauce that gave it some nice heat. Served also with monterey jack cheese and fresh cilantro. If you want a real artery clogger, add two strips of bacon. Oh yeah.
I have some leftover chile sauce and a ton of cornmeal, so maybe I'll have a go at some tamales soon. We'll see. Tomorrow will be my entry to Dr. Biggles' Meat Platter Contest, so keep an eye out.
Huevos Rancheros (al Mono)
Serves 2 or 3, depending on hunger level
CHILI ARBOL SAUCE
1 cup dried arbol chile pods, chopped (don't remove seeds)
1 1/2 cups water
4 cloves garlic
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg (or a bit less if ground)
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1) Boil the chilis furiously for about 20 minutes, adding water when necessary to keep it from boiling down
2) in the meantime, sautee the whole garlic, peel on, in vegetable oil until it begins to darken. Cool, peel, chop. The sesame seeds can be toasted in a cast iron pan until golden.
3) Let the chilis cool a bit, then puree everything in a food processor, add salt to taste, and more nutmeg if you think necessary.
Now for the rest:
1 can black beans, rinsed (or 1/2 cups of beans if you used the soaking method for dried beans)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp. cumin (Freshly ground cumin seeds if possible)
4 corn tortillas
1/2 cup grated monterrey jack or sharp cheddar
fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper
1) Using the same cast iron pan, toast both sides of some corn tortillas and set aside (in a toaster oven on low to keep them warm)
2) sautee the garlic in the oil, and just when they start to turn golden, add the beans, tomato, cumin, and a bit of salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
3) Fry the eggs, being careful to keep the yolk runny without breaking
4) ASSEMBLE: tortillas, eggs, big spoonful of bean mixture -- topped with cheese, spoon some of the chili sauce to the side or in the middle, sprinkle with cilantro, and brace yourself for an incredible breakfast.