Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Huevos Rancheros with Chorizo and Refried Black Beans

If I’m making huevos rancheros for breakfast, I prefer to keep them lighter and closer to the “real thing” in Mexico: corn tortillas topped simply with eggs and salsa. But the flavors are too good to enjoy only on an occasional Saturday morning, so this recipe dresses up the dish tostado-style for dinner.

I gave it a little heartiness with refried black beans and crumbled chorizo sausage. But you can keep it vegetarian—and rich—with simply the creamy beans, cheddar cheese, and a spicy, smoky sauce made with chipotle.

If you’re using chorizo, use one skillet to cook both the meat and the beans. It’s not only less cleanup, but the leftover oil from the chorizo (cooked first and kept warm) infuses the black beans with extra spicy flavor when they’re mashed into it. 

Serves 2 (or makes 4 light lunches)


For the Sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chile powder
  • sea salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
Sauce Ingredients
For the Chorizo and Beans
  • 1 tsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/2 lb chorizo sausage
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cooked black beans (from a 15-oz can), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (plus more, as needed) 
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 5-inch corn tortillas
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 4 medium eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • cilantro leaves, for garnish


For the Sauce
  1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Add the white parts of the scallions, garlic, and serrano chile and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, 3 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, green parts of the scallions, chipotle pepper, cumin, and chile powder and season with salt. Bring to a light simmer and cook until slightly thickened, 7-8 minutes.
Scallion Mixture Beginning to Cook 
Tomato Mixture Beginning to Cook
  1. Remove from the heat. Carefully pour the mixture into a food processor and grind until pureed. Add the broth and process until the mixture has the consistency of a thick sauce.
Pureed Tomato Mixture 
Sauce with Broth Added
  1. Return the sauce to the saucepan and keep warm over very low heat. (Or, cool completely and remove to a sealable container. Refrigerate overnight and re-warm before proceeding.)
For the Chorizo and Beans
  1. Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature and place a plate in it.
  2. Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat and add 1 teaspoon of oil. Add the chorizo, garlic, and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up the sausage until crumbled and just cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the mixture to a bowl and keep warm in the oven. Do not wipe out the skillet.
Beans Beginning to Cook
Cooked Chorizo Mixture

  1. To the same skillet, add the black beans, vegetable broth, cumin, and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until some of the broth is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
Beans Beginning to Cook 
Beans Ready to Mas

  1. Reduce the heat to low and use a potato masher to mash the beans with the remaining broth and oil from the chorizo. (Add a little more broth if the mixture is too dry.) Mash until chunky smooth, leaving bits of whole beans. Keep warm over low heat.
Mash the Beans with a Potato Masher 
Mashed Beans

  1. Heat another large, nonstick skillet over medium heat and brush with olive oil. Place 2 tortillas in it side by side (or slightly overlapping, if necessary) and fry 2 minutes. Turn and fry until the tortillas begin to brown, but are not crisp, about 2 minutes longer. Stack on the warm plate in the oven and repeat with the remaining 2 tortillas.
Tortillas after Turning
  1. Heat the same skillet over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter begins to sizzle, crack the eggs into the skillet and fry until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny (or until desired degree of doneness).
Set Eggs
To serve, place 2 tortillas on each of 2 plates, barely overlapping. Spread each tortilla with 1/4 of the mashed black beans. Scatter 2 tablespoons of cheese over the beans on each and top the cheese with 1 fried egg each. Divide and spoon sauce on top of the eggs and scatter the chorizo around the plates. Garnish with cilantro and serve right away.

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