White sand. Salty skin. Hot chilli. Blue skies. Calm seas. A varied and ancient culture. Can someone please take me to Mexico? PLEASE?? All I want to do is eat my body weight in tacos, drink fruit juices like they’re going out of fashion (which they’re so not), and stare at the ocean for a few days. And then visit an ancient Mayan temple and learn some more about their incredible history.
BUT it’s Australia Day today, and I’m not in Mexico, I’m in Queensland. Since it is a grand tradition here to celebrate the nation with more than a few beverages, I thought I would share these Huevos Rancheros, in the hope that some of my compatriots might enjoy them for breakfast tomorrow, or better yet, as a spicy nightcap before hitting the hay this evening.
Because, let’s face it, these are brilliant hangover food. I could talk your ear off about how the egg contains certain amino acids that boost liver function and will help with your headache. Or how the tomatoes are also great for your liver AND for reducing inflammation (there’s a reason Bloody Mary’s are so popular).
But never in all my hangovers have I cared a jot about the relative health benefits of what I’m eating. My body tells me it wants carbs, eggs, and spicy things, and in my weakened state it’s all I can do to obey. So, huevos rancheros? Best of both worlds.
Mexican cuisine is incredibly diverse, and there are probably a million different ways to make authentic Rancher’s Eggs. This recipe is my jumbled take on it all, with my favourite flavours, and some inspiration taken from many different sources.
One of my favourite books on Mexican cuisine is Thomasina Mier’s ‘Mexican Food Made Simple’. It’s especially great if, like me, you live somewhere it’s hard to find authentic ingredients. But anyway, my take on it all is pretty straight forward. After all, I’m suggesting you make this when hungover, so it was never going to be that complicated.
The hardest part is making the salsa – which you can easily do ahead of time and store in the fridge for a few days. Very unconventionally, I throw a little worcestershire sauce into my salsa. You can totally leave that out, but I love it. I just feel compelled to add worcestershire sauce to all and any tomatoes eaten at breakfast time, because my Dad always has and probably always will.
Anyway, once the salsa is done, it’s as simple as heating up some tortillas, frying as many eggs as you like, and then layering everything up – tortilla, salsa, tortilla, huevo, avocado, cotija (or feta cheese as I used), and a sprinkle of coriander (aka cilantro).
Once it’s all stacked on your plate, just dig the hell in. I love this with a citrus juice on the side, like some orange juice with a squeeze of lime, but you have it with whatever you fancy.
When you have a mouthful of beautiful charred tortilla, sharp cheese, spicy salsa, creamy avocado and silky egg all is right with the world. And then even the fact that you’re not in, and have never been to Mexico seems to get a little less difficult to bear.
Happy Aussie Day!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ red onion, finely diced
- pinch of salt
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 flame-roasted pepper, diced
- 1 x 440g can diced tomatoes
- 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro)
- 4 x corn tortillas
- 2 fried eggs (or more, if you feel like it)
- cotija cheese (feta is good too)
- more coriander (cilantro)
- optional: refried beans
- First, make the salsa. Heat the olive oil in a small pan and add the onion and salt. Cook over a medium heat until the onion starts to soften, then add the chilli and garlic.
- When the garlic is just beginning to turn golden, add in the roasted pepper and tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is almost totally evaporated, and you have a salsa-y texture.
- Add the worcestershire sauce and coriander, stir through and then turn off the heat and set aside.
- To serve, heat the corn tortillas in a dry frying pan, or char them over an open flame if you have one. Keep them warm, wrapped in a tea towel, if you need to.
- Fry as many eggs as you like in a little olive oil, and then serve up, layering each plate with a tortilla, some salsa, and refried beans if you're using them. Then another tortilla, more salsa, your egg and as much avocado, coriander and cotija cheese as you like. Dig in!