Thursday, January 22, 2015

Classic Huevos Rancheros!

     The Way Huevos Rancheros Used To Be.  Mucho Grande!
     Mexican ranch style eggs was one of my favorite breakfasts when I was a kid in Southern California.  Back in the 1960's and early 1970's, Huevos Rancheros was a huge plate of breakfast food that was meant to be shared by several guests.  This is how breakfast was served to workers on a ranch.  Everybody simply dug right in and got their fill.  In the old days, everything but the kitchen sink was used to make Huevos Rancheros.  Huevos Rancheros really was a festive grand hearty breakfast entrée at restaurants and at home.

     At some point after the 1970's, Huevos Rancheros started to look more like rip-off street vendor style food, than a grand festive meal.  Restaurants started offering a cheap version of Huevos Rancheros that consisted of two eggs smothered with canned tomato sofrito sauce, which was accompanied by rice and refried beans.  This cheap modern version of Huevos Rancheros was nothing like the great Huevos Rancheros that was served in Los Angeles restaurants over 35 years ago.

     While browsing the internet, I found that nearly every recipe for Huevos Rancheros looked like the cheap modern version.  It was like the grand old classic Huevos Rancheros from the 1960's was banished from history.  More than likely, the reason why is that if people knew about how great Huevos Rancheros used to be, they would never order the cheap modern version in a restaurant.  The modern version of Huevos Rancheros is barely hearty enough to satisfy a flea.

     This is how a classic 1960's style Huevos Rancheros was served in Los Angeles restaurants for a family of 4:  The waitress placed a huge platter Huevos Rancheros on the center of the table.  The Huevos Rancheros consisted of more than a dozen scrambled eggs, 1 pound of sliced Steak Asada, plenty of melted cheese, frijoles, chiles, crema, tomatoes, salsa, olives, avocado and tortillas that was all piled high as the sky!
     A classic 1960's Huevos Rancheros for 4 guests was a heaping mountain of food!  The entire family of 4 dug into the huge Huevos Rancheros platter and placed whatever they wanted to eat on individual plates.  Everybody ate big, like hard working rancheros!

     As one can imagine, every restaurant chef in Los Angeles that served a classic Huevos Rancheros back in the old days added their own signature touch.  Some Huevos Rancheros was made with roast pork or ground taco meat instead of steak.  Some were served with refried beans and chile colorado sauce was poured over the pile of scrambled eggs.  Every chef's variation of Huevos Rancheros was mucho grande back then!

     Today's recipe is how a 1960's style Juevos Rancheros for one guest looks.  This old fashioned version is a big hearty plate of food.  It is important to keep in mind that the classic theme of Huevos Rancheros really is a big hearty breakfast for cattle ranchers that spent all day doing hard work in the great outdoors!
     *This old fashioned Huevos Rancheros recipe yields one mucho grande entrée!   
     Roasted Chile Poblano: 
     The poblano chile can be roasted over an open flame, instead of in an oven!
     Lightly brush 1 whole poblano chile pepper with vegetable oil.
     Roast the chile poblano in a 350º oven, till the skin becomes caramelized.
     Cool the roasted chile poblano under cold running water and peel the skin off.
     Discard the skin, seeds and stem.
     Slice the roasted poblano into long wide strips.
     Set the roasted poblano strips aside.
     Tomato Salsa: 
     Place 1/3 cup of diced tomato in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 tablespoons of diced onion.
     Add 1 chopped green onion.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of chopped cilantro.
     Add 1 tablespoon chopped seeded jalapeño pepper.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of lime juice.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Set the salsa aside and let the flavors meld.
     Ranch Beans:
     Step 1:  Place 1 cup of rinsed pre-cooked pinto beans or rinsed canned pinto beans in a sauce pot.
     Add enough water to barely cover the beans.
     Add 1 pinch of garlic powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ancho chile powder.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of roasted lard or vegetable oil.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 2:  Place the pot over medium high heat.
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer the ranch beans for ten minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Keep the ranch beans warm over very low heat.
     Skirt Steak:
     Step 1:  Cut a 6 ounce piece of Skirt Steak.
     Season the skirt steak with sea salt and black pepper.
     Sprinkle 2 pinches of cumin over the steak.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of garlic powder over the steak.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan or a cast iron griddle over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of blended olive oil.
     Place the seasoned steak in the pan.
     Sear the steak on both sides, till it is cooked to the preferred finish temperature.  (Medium Well Done is good for skirt steak.)
     Place the steak on a cutting board.
     Slice the steak into thick strips.
     Set the steak strips aside.
     Soft or crisp tortillas can be served with huevos rancheros.
     Steamed Soft Tortillas:  Steamed tortillas are usually made by wrapping about 5 small corn tortillas in parchment paper, then they are placed in a steamer for about 30 seconds.
     Leave the steamed tortillas wrapped in paper till they are served and keep them warm on a stove top.
     Fried Crisp Tortillas:  
     Cut 2 corn tortillas in half.  (6" to 8" corn tortillas)
     Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
     Add enough vegetable oil (or lard), so the oil is 1/4" deep.
     Pan fry the tortilla halves on both sides, till they become crisp.
     Place the fried tortilla halves on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off the excess oil.
     Season the fried tortillas with sea salt.
     Keep the fried tortillas warm on a stove top.

     Cilantro Crema:
     Step 1:  Place a small sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of sour cream.
     Add 3 tablespoons of milk.
     Add 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 2:  Stir the sauce as it heats.
     Allow the sauce to simmer and reduce to a medium thin consistency.
     Step 3:  Keep the cilantro crema warm over very low heat.
     Add a small splash of milk, if the cilantro crema becomes too thick.
     Cheese Eggs with Steak and Roasted Poblano Preparation:
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 3 whisked large eggs.
     Scramble the eggs only till they are soft and loose.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Step 2:  Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of mixed grated queso fresco and grated cheddar cheese on the eggs.
     Place the steak strips on top of the eggs and cheese.
     Place the roasted poblano chile strips on top of the eggs and cheese between the steak strips.
     Step 3:  Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Bake the till the eggs become fully cooked and the cheese melts.  (Do not brown the cheese!)
     Keep the pan and ingredients warm on a stove top.
     Classic Huevos Rancheros:
     Canned salsa verde and red chile sauce are okay for this recipe.  Fresh sauce recipes can be found in this website.  
     Step 1:  Carefully slide the Cheese Eggs, Steak and Chile Poblano preparation on the center of a plate.
     Step 2:  Garnish the plate with:
     - a large portion of ranch beans
     - some of the cilantro crema sauce
     - red chili pepper sauce
     - salsa verde on the other
     Step 3:  Mound the tomato salsa on top of the eggs.
     Sprinkle some sliced black olives over the eggs and the sauces.
     Sprinkle some thin sliced green onion over eggs and sauces.
     Garnish with cilantro sprigs.
     Step 4:  Place the crisp tortillas on the plate, so that the tortillas hang over the edge of the plate or served the steamed tortillas on a side plate with butter.
     Mucho grande!  This old fashioned hearty classic Huevos Rancheros will sure bring back memories for those who lived in Los Angeles more than three decades ago!

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