This could have been one of those cooking show challenges where they give you a bunch of stupid random ingredients but specify that you have to fix this particular, amazing dish!
We woke up late last weekend and Elise popped up and said, “You ought to fix huevos rancheros for breakfast.” That’s one of my favorite breakfasts and one of my specialty items that I like to fix, so I readily agreed, “Sure!”
So I be-bopped up to the kitchen and started pulling out ingredients…
Eggs – Check! Fresh from Elise’s chickens.
Tortillas – Nope! Gluten-free tortillas are not worth the trouble and they are still too carby to be truly keto-friendly. No problem, I can do the huevos on a bed of fresh spinach leaves, which we had in the fridge.
Onions – Check! I like my ranchero sauce, my tomato gravy, and my shrimp creole very oniony.
Tomatoes – Wait a minute, where are the tomatoes? I looked in the freezer and couldn’t find any of the fresh-frozen tomatoes from the garden. I looked in the pantry and couldn’t find any canned tomatoes! I Looked in the fridge and couldn’t find any form of tomato – not even a bottle of catsup! I was starting to panic and prepare myself for the dreaded running trip to the grocery store when I spotted the only form of tomato in the house – a bottle of Sun-dried Tomato vinaigrette salad dressing!
I personally don’t like the tomato vinaigrette on salad (which is probably why we still had the bottle in the fridge) but I bet with some salt and cumin and cayenne, I could turn it into something like ranchero sauce and I wouldn’t have to get dressed and drive to the store!
That brings me to the spices… Garlic, Check! Cayenne, Check! Salt, Check! Pepper, Check! Cumin… wait a minute! I don’t have any cumin! I definitely can’t make ranchero without that so I look around for anything that might have some cumin in it. Finally I found a jar of smoky meat rub (with cumin) and a packet of taco seasoning. Hmmm… maybe…
Here’s how I put it all together.
I sliced the onion and threw it into the pan with about a third of the bottle of tomato vinaigrette to sautee. While the onion was working, I hit it with the salt, black pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder. They say you should let the spices touch the heat while sauteeing instead of sauteeing the onions and then stirring in the spices. Then I doused it liberally with the meat rub and threw in the packet of taco seasoning. I stirred this all together and sauteed it until the onions were starting to turn translucent and the vinaigrette was reduced some.
Then I just fried two eggs over easy for Elise and two for me. That’s a large part of what I love about fixing huevos rancheros – it is a large, hearty, visually impressive meal that is SUPER easy to make.
When the eggs were ready, I plated them over a bed of spinach and spooned the faux-ranchero sauce on top. Sides included a half a sliced avocado, several of candied jalapenos, and a large scoop of homemade yogurt.
So, what did we think of the faux-ranchero? I think you can tell from the photos that Elise and I both demolished those huevos and there was not a scrap left!
I was totally surprised and Elise was properly impressed with my improvisational cooking skills and I might have to actually try to reproduce that particular style of sauce at some point!