Wow what a week! It has been wild with thunderstorms and torrential rain outside and absolute chaos inside with Giddy going through his 6 week growth spurt and my three year old, Oscar has had a case of the sniffles. We all needed a vitamin C boost as well as something warm and nourishing, this dish ticks the boxes whilst offering a little ray of Mexican sunshine. It is one of our top vegetarian dishes at the moment, we try to eat meat free 2-3 times a week not only because vegetarian meals are generally cheaper, but also they tend to be lower in fat as well as packing in more complex carbohydrates and fibre through grains, pulses and additional veggies. Can’t ask for more than that!
Huevos Rancheros is traditionally a rural Mexican breakfast dish comprised of a corn tortilla, a spicy tomato sauce and a fried egg. Some variations include refried beans, avocado and or rice. I was inspired by a recipe I found on an awesome Australian website taste.com.au, which I have adapted to make this super simple and kid friendly meal, you can up the chilli if you are catering for more grown up palettes or omit it completely if your kids are particularly sensitive to spice. I add a little for the flavour and slight warmth as well as trying to up Oscar’s chilli tolerance!
In essence this version is individual crispy tortilla bowls of deliciousness, the egg is baked in the tangy mexican inspired tomato sauce and topped with a garnish of fresh coriander and a sprinkling of melted cheese. It would be great as a weekend breakfast or brunch dish but we like to have it as a midweek dinner served with a seasonal garden salad. It is of course vegetarian, can be gluten free if you choose to use corn tortillas and dairy free if you leave out cheese.
You start by sweating a finely diced onion followed by a red pepper and 2 large cloves of garlic.
Once the onions are softened, they should be translucent not browned, you can add the spices and cook until aromatic.
The rinsed and drained beans can be added to the mix and cooked for a couple of minutes before adding the tinned tomatoes, salt, pepper, brown sugar and bouillon powder.
Bring to a simmer then allow to reduce to a thick sauce, you don’t want too much excess liquid as this can make the tortillas soggy. Make sure you taste it once it reaches the desired consistency and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Using a tortilla to line an oven proof dish such as an individual pie tin, tapas plate or a large flat ramekin, you create a bowl which you can fill with this tangy tomato mixture. By making a well in the centre you can carefully place your whole egg without the risk of it spilling over the sides. I find it easier as well, if I crack the egg into a separate small bowl first, not only does it make it easier to pour in but it eliminates the risk of cracking a rotten egg into your dinner or loosing some shell in the mix.
Simply top with some freshly ground black pepper, fresh coriander, a little grated cheese and bake in the oven until the egg is just set, 20-30 minutes in a 160’C oven.
We usually have it with a simple garden salad, but when avocados are in season we make up a batch of guacamole which can be dolloped generously on the side.
Serves 4 – $1.75 per serve
- 1 tbsp neutral oil (I like rice bran)
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 sprig oregano, finely chopped or 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 can red kidney beans or black beans in spring water, drained and rinsed
- 1 can tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp bouillon powder or 1 veggie stock cube
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 4 regular tortilla wraps (I use wheat but you could use the more traditional corn ones to keep it Gluten Free)
- 4 eggs
- small bunch of fresh coriander
- 30g grated cheese (optional, leave out if you want it Dairy Free)
- Preheat the oven to 160’c/320’f.
- Heat the oil in a deep, heavy bottomed frying pan and saute the onion and red pepper slowly over a low heat until softened, about 5 mins. They should be translucent but not browned, you can use a lid or add a touch of water if they seem to be drying out and beginning to catch. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
- Once the garlic is cooked through add the spices and oregano, heat for 1 minute then stir in the kidney beans and the tinned tomatoes. Fill the empty tin of tomatoes with water and pour into the pan, this ensures you don’t waste any of the precious tomato juices. Season with salt and pepper, bouillon or stock and sugar.
- Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce is thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Grease 4 shallow ovenproof dishes slightly larger than the tortillas. Carefully push the tortillas into the dishes being careful not to tear them. Spoon the tomato and bean mixture evenly between the dishes and make a well in the centre of each.
- Crack an egg into a small bowl and pour into the well of one of the dishes, repeat for each serving. Season with black pepper and a pinch of salt then sprinkle over some chopped fresh coriander and a some grated cheese.
- Place into the oven and bake for 20-30 mins until the egg is just set. Serve hot.
Note: I find that these are better served immediately and not made in advance to be reheated, primarily because the tortillas tend to go a bit soggy. If you want to make ahead you can prepare the tomato and bean mixture which can be chilled or frozen until required. Having a young family I also find that 4 servings are too much for us so I make 3 then save the remaining bean mixture to have for a quick lunch the following day, either as a burrito or on some toast or rice…delicious!