One-Pot Wonders

Huevos Rancheros (Country-Style Eggs Topped with Pork and Green Chile)

July 28, 2011
Photo by Jennifer Causey
Author Notes

This recipe was inspired by my maternal grandmother, an amazing woman, and a real mentor to me in the kitchen. She taught me so much through her love of food and cooking. She loved preparing full meals for her large extended family, which she did until she was ninety years old. I can't recall a single conversation with her that didn't begin with us both discussing what we had cooked (and eaten!) that day. - cookinginvictoria

Many of the dishes that my grandmother cooked celebrated her Mexican heritage. As a child, I remember her making homemade flour tortillas on her immense gas stove, which was a novelty to me at the time. Everyone else I knew, including my mother, cooked on electric ranges. My grandmother also made red chile enchiladas, posole, and tamales. But her most acclaimed dish (at least to me, my sister and my cousins) was her pork green chile. This is not fancy food by any means, but simple and rustic Tex-Mex home cooking. Many years ago, I asked her for the recipe. She told me about the ingredients in the dish, but she didn't give me any real measurements -- it was a little bit of this, a little bit of that. I'm not sure she ever really measured ingredients -- she was an intuitive cook.

Over the years, I have made my own version of her green chile. It is not quite my grandmother's recipe, but I like to think that if she were here, she would recognize it. When my grandmother made her green chile, she mostly used pork chops. I like to use two different cuts of pork -- stew meat from the hip or shoulder of the pig and side ribs for a richer, more porky flavor. My grandmother always preferred Hatch chiles, which I am the first to admit are the best green chiles in the world. However, one of the drawbacks of living in Canada is that Hatch chiles are impossible to get here. So now I add two different types of chiles to make this dish -- Poblanos for their mild and smoky flavor and Anaheims for their heat. If you can source Hatch chiles, by all means use them instead.

When my grandmother made this dish, she would bring a steaming bowl of green chile to the table, and we would eat it like a stew. She would serve plenty of her homemade tortillas for sopping up the delicious juices as well as rice and pinto beans on the side. When I make this dish for my own family, I like to stuff flour tortiillas with black beans, chopped avocado, diced tomatoes, julienned radishes, grated Cheddar cheese, and chopped cilantro. I then make smothered burritos and top each stuffed tortilla with lots of green chile. Another great way to use this chile (green chile is truly versatile!) is to make huevos rancheros. Eggs and chile are one of my favorite food combinations. I love how a soft egg yolk tastes when it melds with spicy aromatic, porky green chile. Served with a soft tortilla to absorb all of the chile's juices, this is the kind of breakfast, brunch or dinner that to me is truly sublime. —cookinginvictoria

Test Kitchen Notes

This is the kind of recipe every cook should have in their arsenal. Humble ingredients are transformed into a rich, comforting and deliciously satisfying dish that is company-worthy. I am already planning on this for Christmas breakfast. With a flavorful pork base, smoky chiles, bright cilantro, slightly tangy cheese, and a poached egg, although huevos rancheros is usually breakfast or brunch fare, this is hearty enough for dinner and that’s how we enjoyed it. Not only delicious, this was a joy to test, thanks to Cookinginvictoria’s thorough and thoughtful instructions. She anticipates potential mishaps and provides adjustments. It is almost as if she is there with you, teaching you her favorite family recipes. I cannot wait for her to teach me another. —gingerroot

  • Serves 4 with plenty of leftovers
  • The Rancheros (Green Chile with Pork)
  • 3 Poblano peppers (approximately 14 ounces)
  • 3 Anaheim peppers (approximately 14 ounces)
  • 1 pound pork side ribs on the bone
  • 1 pound pork stew meat (cut from the hip or shoulder), cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3/4 cup diced tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • The Huevos (Eggs)
  • 4-8 Eggs (If you are making brunch or dinner, count on two eggs per person. However, if you are making a light lunch, one egg per person is the perfect portion size.)
  • Water for poaching eggs
  • 1 tablespoon white wine or cider vinegar
  • 1 handful of roughly chopped cilantro (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 handful grated Queso Fresco cheese (about 1/4 cup). Feta or a hard goat cheese will also work.
  • 4 flour tortillas (one per person), plus extra for serving at the table
  • Green Chile with Pork (above recipe), kept warm on the stove
In This Recipe
  1. The Rancheros (Green Chile with Pork)
  2. First, roast the chiles. If you have a gas stove, roast each pepper over an open flame, right on the stove grill until nicely charred on all sides. I use the broiler since my stove is electric. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place peppers on baking sheet. Broil peppers about six inches from heat element, turning as needed, until peppers are blackened on all sides. Remove baking sheet from oven and put peppers in a large bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let sit for twenty minutes, letting peppers continue to steam. Take 2/3 of the peppers out of the bowl, and carefully remove stem and skin from each pepper. Make a cut about 1/3 of the way down each pepper and remove as many seeds as possible. A spoon or a paper towel is a good tool for this. If a few seeds are left, that's okay. Chop peppers into very small dice and set aside.
  3. Now cook the ribs. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put a wire rack over foil-covered baking sheet that you used to roast peppers. If ribs have not been sectioned yet, slice them carefully between the bones. Put ribs on wire rack and roast in oven until browned and nicely caramelized (about 20-25 minutes). Because you are roasting the ribs on a rack, you shouldn't need to turn them. However, feel free to turn them if they look like they are getting too browned on one side. Remove from oven.
  4. Next step is to saute your aromatics. Add butter to a large dutch oven. Turn heat on stove to medium low. Once butter has melted, add onions to pan and saute until golden and nicely caramelized. Add garlic to pan and stir. Once you can really smell the garlic aroma (after about a minute), take off heat. Remove garlic and onion mixture from pan and put in medium size bowl. Set aside.
  5. Now on to browning the rest of the pork. Put flour into a flat dish (a pie pan is perfect). Add pork stew meat to flour and stir with a spoon or your hands until evenly coated. Add two teaspoons oil to dutch oven and warm oil over medium heat. Working in batches, add flour-coated pork to pan, being careful not to crowd the pan. You want the pork to fit in a single layer. After one side has nicely browned and caramelized, carefully turn pork. Once the second side is looking golden and has a nice crust, remove pork from pan and let drain on paper towel or a wire rack. Continue sauteing pork, adding two teaspoons oil to each batch if needed, until all pork has been cooked. When pork has cooled, dice into 1/2 inch pieces.
  6. Time to cook the chile: Put pork stew meat, pork ribs, onion and garlic mixture, two thirds of the diced chiles, oregano and tomatoes into the dutch oven. Add half of the broth and half of the water. Turn heat on burner to medium and let mixture come to a boil. Then turn heat down to medium low and let chile cook at a medium simmer. It should start to thicken, resembling a thick soup or stew, after about 15-20 minutes. Once it has thickened, gradually add remaining water and broth. If chile still looks too thick, add extra water if needed. If chile looks too thin (it should not look watery), remove about 1/2 cup chile broth from dutch oven and place in small bowl. Add one tablespoon cornstarch to bowl and whisk until cornstarch has dissolved. Slowly add cornstarch-chile mixture to dutch oven, stirring periodically until chile has thickened.
  7. Fine-tuning the chile: After about a half an hour of cooking, add salt. Then taste the chile. Add more salt if needed. If the chile is not spicy enough to your liking, add reserved diced peppers a spoonful at a time. Peppers can be unpredictable as far as heat goes, so it is impossible to give exact amounts here. Also everyone's chile pepper tolerance is different. I always try to be conservative. You can make a chile hotter, but you can't remove heat if it is too hot in spice! Continue to let chile simmer for another fifteen minutes, then taste again if you added additional peppers. If it still doesn't seem spicy enough and you want to up the heat another notch, then peel, seed and chop remaining peppers in bowl, and add them to the chile. Continue to cook chile. Total cooking time for the chile should be 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  8. If you are planning not to serve the chile right away, put in container and refrigerate, preferably overnight. The next day remove thin layer of fat on surface of chile. Put chile back in Dutch Oven to warm while you prepare the eggs. If you want to serve chile immediately, spoon any noticeable fat off surface of chile. Keep heat on low and let chile continue to simmer while you get the eggs ready.
  1. The Huevos (Eggs)
  2. First, poach the eggs: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bring a pan of water to a simmer over medium low heat. I find that a pan with shallow sides works best for poached eggs; however make sure that the sides of the pan are deep enough so that the poaching water will completely cover the eggs. When water is gentlu simmering, add vinegar. If water starts to get hotter than a gentle simmer, lower heat, if needed.
  3. Crack eggs one at a time in small shallow dish, being careful not to break the yolks. Gently slide each egg into simmering water. I usually use a spoon and gently spoon egg white over each yolk, so that the yolks don't cook too quickly. I poach eggs using the Julia Child method. Usually four minutes of poaching yields a perfect egg -- firm white and cooked, but runny yolk. Start testing each egg at about 3 1/2 minutes. Gently lift egg with slotted spoon and slightly jiggle. If egg white seems firm and yolk doesn't look quivery, egg is done. Remove from water with slotted spoon, and using paper towel or kitchen tiowel, gently dry egg. Repeat this process with other eggs.
  4. Get tortillas ready: While eggs are cooking, heat tortillas. Lay tortillas flat, one at a time, directly on oven rack. Remove tortillas after about three miinutes. You want them to be just beginning to puff slightly, but the tortillas should still be soft, not crisp.
  5. Now at last you are ready to plate! Get four plates ready. For each diner, fold one tortilla over and place on plate. Put one or two poached eggs in the middle of the tortilla. Spoon warm chile all around the egg(s), covering most of the tortilla. Top chile with cheese. Sprinkle cilantro on egg(s). If your guests don't mind bones, put one rib on the plate -- otherwise save ribs for a cook's treat. Don't forget to dollop a small spoonful of chile sauce onto the rib. Continue to plate the other huevos rancheros. Call your guests immediately to the table, and pass around a bowl of extra chile and additional warm tortillas.
  6. Dig in and enjoy!

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In 2009, after living more than twenty years in NYC, my husband, young daughter and I packed up our lives and embarked on a grand adventure, moving to Victoria, B.C. There are many things that we miss about New York (among them ripe, vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh ravioli and New York bagels), but, I have to admit, that living in the Pacific Northwest has been pretty amazing food-wise. Now we have a yard with plum and apple trees, a raspberry and strawberry patch and a Concord grape arbor. I have a vegetable and herb garden, so I can grow at least some of our food. And we have an amazing farmer's market a block from our house. I love cooking (and eating) seasonally and locally. And it's been very rewarding introducing my daughter to cooking and eating, and teaching her where our food comes from.