Huevos Rancheros Florentine: Yup. I. Went. There.

real final

What are good Saturday morning breakfast ideas while trying to decide whether to face the cold, rainy, foggy world or stay indoors wrapped up in a blanket?  Two favorite options of mine: Huevos Rancheros and Eggs Florentine.  Two distinct dishes, both very tasty treats.  But you shouldn’t eat both at the same time, right?  Well maybe you should.  Hmmm.  I decided to combine the two and create one egg dish filled with hints of both.

In a nutshell, huevos rancheros consist of a fried tortilla topped with beans, eggs and sauce (either a tomato based red sauce or its tangier cousin, a tomatillo-based green sauce).  Easy, humble, hearty goodness.  Eggs Florentine on the other hand, could not be more different.  It incorporates delicate, poached eggs and sautéed spinach smothered in a rich, luxurious cream sauce.  It takes precision, time and refinement to make the dish.

So I merged them to create this wonderful egg baby.  How?  Easy.  Rather than making a tomato sauce (key accessory in huevos rancheros) and a béchamel sauce (staple in eggs Florentine) I decided to merge the two into a creamy, spicy tomato sauce.  Personally I nixed the heavy cream and sub yogurt instead because I like the tanginess the yogurt adds but if you need to keep it traditional then heavy cream works just as well.  Then, I decided on a baked tortilla, topped with a layer of beans, courtesy of the huevos rancheros, and a layer of spinach from the awe-inspiring eggs Florentine.  Add an egg on top (fried or poached, depending which country you have a stronger affiliation to, Mexico or Italy) and there you go.  Their egg baby is born.

Do not let the long list of ingredients or preparation steps fool you.  This is an easy recipe.  It takes about 40-50 minutes to make from scratch but store bought refried beans and/or tostadas can be used as well cutting the time to about 25 minutes.  Plus the beans, baked tortillas and sauce can be made ahead of time and just warmed through when needed.

WHAT YOU NEED:

– 4 eggs;

-salt;

-pepper;

-1 cup of fresh baby spinach

For beans

– 1 cup of cooked pinto beans; or one can of pinto beans, drained; or one can of refried beans;

– 1 tablespoon of oil;

– salt;

–  ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder;

For tortillas

– 4 corn tortillas or tostadas;

-oil;

-salt;

-cumin;

For creamy tomato sauce

– 2 tablespoons of flour;

– 2 tablespoons of oil/butter;

-1 tablespoon of oil;

– ½ onion, chopped;

-2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed;

– 4 tomatoes, chopped (about 1 ½ cups);

– 1 cup of water;

-2 tablespoons of tomato sauce (I like El Pato tomato sauce because it has added chiles and spices);

-1 tablespoon of chile powder;

– 1 teaspoon of paprika;

-salt

– ¼ cup of plain Greek yogurt or ½ cup of heavy cream;

WHAT YOU DO:

For beans (skip if using canned refried beans):  Heat 1-2 teaspoons of oil in a small saucepan and add beans.  Wait for beans to heat through, stirring as needed so beans do not stick to the bottom of the pan.  Using a potato masher (bean masher?) press beans gently into a chunky consistency is formed.  Incorporate salt and garlic powder and keep on low heat to keep beans warm.

beans

For tortillas (skip if using tostadas):  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Meanwhile brush both sides of tortillas with oil and lightly sprinkle salt and cumin on both sides.  Place tortillas on a wire rack THEN place wire rack on a cookie sheet (placing the wire rack on a cookie sheet will keep the oven clean as all the excess oil will fall on the sheet instead of the oven. Whew less clean up).  Bake for 15-25 minutes or until crispy, flipping over once during the process.  When each side of the tortilla is done turn off oven and let tortillas sit in oven to keep warm.

tortilla

For creamy tomato sauce:  In a medium saucepan pour 2 tablespoons of oil and let heat up for about 1-2 minutes.  Add flour and combine thoroughly making sure to completely dissolve the flour (this mixture is called a roux).  Let cook on medium heat, stirring consistently until roux turns a rich, peanut butter hue.  Turn off heat, remove roux from pan and place into a separate dish.  Using a paper towel clean out the saucepan thoroughly.  Return saucepan to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil and sauté onions until translucent.  Next toss in garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.  Pour in tomatoes, water, tomato sauce, chile powder, paprika and salt.  Mix thoroughly and bring heat up to medium-high.  Bring sauce to a simmer.  While sauce is simmering reintroduce the roux made earlier and stir in order to make sure the roux has incorporated into the sauce nicely.  Continue to simmer for 5 minutes.  The sauce should begin to thicken slightly.  Once it thickens turn off heat and let sauce cool down slightly before adding yogurt or heavy cream (adding cold dairy to a hot liquid will make it curdle so make sure the sauce has cooled down for at least 5 minutes before adding the dairy).

sauce

For eggs:  In a small sauté pan heat oil until it begins to shimmer.  Crack open eggs and slide into pan, one at a time.  Cook until desired (over-easy, over-medium, over-hard, etc).  I like to sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the eggs as they fry.  Alternatively, scrambled egg whites or egg substitutes work great as well or if you do not want to fry the eggs, poached eggs taste delicious with this recipe.

egg

To assemble:  Take baked tortilla (or tostada) and slather a layer of beans onto it.  Place on plate and gently press baby spinach leaves onto the beans (the heat from the beans and the egg will wilt the spinach slightly so there is no need to cook the spinach beforehand).  Using a slotted spatula remove an egg from the pan and carefully place the egg on top of the spinach.  Next, pour an ample amount of the creamy tomato sauce on top of the egg.

final

Some people like to break the yolk before digging in but that is totally your choice.  Buen provecho/buon appetito.

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