Huevos Rancheros

What do do with left-over green chili (on a Saturday morning, when you’re feeling a little hungover)? Make huevos rancheros of course! Guaranteed to taste great and soothe your aches and pains!

This version is modeled, loosely, on the one they serve over at Mona’s (voted by Edward to be the best huevos in Denver). It is not terribly “authenitic” but it is good. To make it extra special, we made fresh corn tortillas and fried them, but any store bought corn tortilla will work great.

What you need (per person):

  • 3 corn tortillas*
  • 1/2 can of pinto beans, warmed
  • About 1 cup of green chili
  • 2 eggs, fried, over easy
  • Optional: lime wedges, avocado slices, diced tomato

What to do:

  1. Warm the beans on low heat in a sauce pan. Add some chili powder and salt if you think they need it.
  2. Meanwhile, heat up some vegetable oil in a large skillet. Place 1-2 tortillas in the oil and fry until slightly golden and crispy. Turn the tortillas and repeat on the other side. Do this for all the tortillas, and drain on a paper towel.
  3. Warm up the left-over green chili. (I did it in the microwave)
  4. To make a good over medium fried egg: melt a about a teaspoon of butter in a non-stick pan on medium-high heat. Crack two eggs into the pan. Allow the whites to become opaque and then carefully flip with a spatula (or, loosen with a spatula, then flip with a flick of your wrist if you’re feeling brave!) Cook for another 30 seconds and then remove from heat.
  5. To assemble: place some beans in the bottom of the bowl, then place the crispy tortillas around the edge of the bowl. I torn mine in half for better arranging. Add a spoon-full or two of green chili to the beans. Place the eggs on top of this, and then smother it all with the rest of the green chili. Sprinkle with chili powder and pepper to taste. Garnish with lime, avocado, tomato or anything else your heart desires.
  6. Now, dig in!!

*To make the fresh corn tortillas, we use Maseca instant corn masa flour. The instructions are really easy to follow on the bag, but essentially, you add some water to the flour. Mix for a couple minutes, then shape into balls and roll (or press) out into tortillas. Cook on a dry skillet 50 seconds per side. Done. Yum.


Colorado Green Chili

One of my favorite parts of August in Colorado is when the chile roasters start popping up everywhere. Most often, these large wire mesh roasters are stationed in empty lots and street corners over a roaring fire. The smell is divine as the Hatch green chiles, newly arrived from Hatch, NM and other towns in New Mexico and south-western Colorado, turn in the fire. The skin chars for easy removal, the peppers get smoky, and it smells like the turning of a season.

Earlier this week, I picked up some of these chiles so that I could make another Colorado masterpiece: Colorado Green Chili. Particularly in New Mexico and Colorado, almost every “Mexican” restaurant showcases a spicy pork green chili that can be eaten as a soup with tortillas or used to smother burritos, chile rellenos and anything else you can think of. In Colorado, the chili tends to be a little thicker. People describe it as “more gravy-like” because of the flour used to thicken it, but I’ve never thought of it as gravy. I think of it as pure goodness.

The kind of green chili I like the best has lots of tomatoes (which, I know, some purists think is a travesty) and lots and lots of fresh roasted green chiles.

I made this recipe the other day (adapted from here) and it turned out pretty great. The closest to Santiago’s deliciousness so far…

What you need:

  • 1.5 pounds cubed lean pork (shoulder or butt is good. I was able to pick up “pork stew meat” from Whole Foods so I used that)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 28 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes, tomatoes chopped
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups of roasted Hatch green chiles, skinned, cleaned and diced (I think this is about 1.2 lbs of uncleaned chiles)
  • 1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. white pepper
  • salt and black pepper to taste

What to do:

  1. Place a large pot or dutch oven on medium high heat and add a little oil. When the oil is hot, add the cubed pork. Grind some pepper on the meat and brown. (Note: I added salt at this point too, but that made the pork release a lot of liquid so I think it might brown better with just the pepper.) Cook the pork until you don’t see any more pink.
  2. Add the onions and cook until the onions are a little browned. Add the garlic and stir.
  3. Add the flour, mixing to combine. (Note: Some recipes call for making, essentially, a roux with the flour, but I didn’t and don’t feel like we missed anything).
  4. Add the tomatoes and the rest of the juice from the can, the chicken broth, chiles, chili powder, oregano and white pepper. Stir to combine, then cover.
  5. Simmer on relatively low heat with cover slightly ajar for two hours or until the pork is tender, stirring every so often. (Note: Instead of doing this on the stovetop, you could also do this in a Crock Pot for 2 or so hours on the high heat setting.)
  6. When the pork is tender, taste and determine if it needs more salt. It probably does. I think I put in about 1-2 more teaspoons, but you might want more or less than that.
  7. To eat as a soup, I like to garnish with a little lime, some crumbled queso fresco and a whole wheat tortilla to dip. Yum!

Salsa: My old familiar friend.

I eat an enormous amount of salsa- substantially more than anyone I know. When I go out for Mexican nobody wants to sit next to me because the salsa bowl on my end of the table is always emptied startlingly fast. There are several factors that contribute to this. 1) To me the taste of salsa is like magic. 2) I am a heavy scooper. No quick dips for me, I like to get in there and load up every chip to its maximum weight bearing capacity. 3) Beer tastes better with salsa. 4) When I eat salsa it feels like a party, even if I’m all by myself.

Coming off the Memorial Day weekend I thought what better way to celebrate the kickoff of summer than a delicious batch of salsa.

What you’ll need:

12 Roma tomatoes
1 White onion
1 Cilantro Bunch
3 Cloves of garlic
3 Jalapeno peppers
3 Limes
1 Teaspoon chili powder
3 Teaspoons salt
2/3 teaspoon cumin
2/3 teaspoon paprika
1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper

What to do:

1. Chop the tomatoes. I like to quarter them first and then cut out and discard the seeds and goopy part from each quarter. The tomatoes should then be chopped into small pieces.

2. Put the tomatoes in a large bowl and then add 1 teaspoon of salt. Then squeeze the juice from on lime on the tomatoes and mix it up. It’s good to mash some of the tomatoes while you mix to make the salsa juicier. Note: The salt and lime at this point are optional. I like to do this because the salt draws some of the liquid out of the tomatoes and the acid from the lime will make sure the tomatoes stay nice even if I get distracted and leave the kitchen for a while.

3. Mince the onions and cilantro and add to the bowl.

4. Mince the jalapenos and garlic and put them in the bowl. Note: This recipe calls for 3 cloves of garlic and 3 jalapenos. This makes a robust salsa, heavy on garlic and pretty hot. If you want to avoid garlic breath or don’t like too much heat, reduce the amount accordingly.

5. Add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Mix.

6. Add the juice from the remaining limes. After each lime, taste to see if the salsa is acidic enough. The amount of lime juice you need can really vary depending on the tomatoes, so just keep adding until it’s tangy and fresh tasting but not sour. Mix.

7. Add the remaining salt one teaspoon at a time and mix. After each teaspoon taste the salsa to see if it needs more salt. I’ve found the salt can vary based on the amount of lime you put in and there’s nothing worse than ruining the salsa at the end with an unnecessary bombardment of salt. It’s also good to do the tasting with the chips you’re going serve with the salsa. If you’ve got a salty batch of chips, the salsa won’t need as much salt.

8. Put the salsa in the fridge for at least two hours and then taste and make any desired tweaks to the seasoning. The taste of the salsa will change substantially in the fridge as the oils from the garlic and jalapenos become fully incorporated into the mix. Expect the salsa to get hotter and more garlicy as it marinates.

Optional additions:

1) Add 1.5 cups black beans for a heartier salsa.
2) Add 1.5 cups corn to add color and sweetness.
3) Add 1 cup grated carrots for sweetness and texture. Carrots are a very nice addition indeed.
4) Add 1 chopped red pepper.
5) Add 2 roasted, skinned and chopped anahiems/new mexico chili peppers or diced chipotles for a smokey goodness. Note: This will add a significant amount of heat, so adjust the fresh jalapenos accordingly.
6) Add 2 minced habanero peppers and enjoy the sweet pain. Note: Unless you want parts of your body other than your mouth to be burning, wear gloves to chop these and be careful not to touch your eyes or nose, or anything else. I speak from experience.

Optional Procedure: Put it all in a food processor for a smooth salsa and less prep time.