Crazy for breakfast: H-to-the-uevos

There are days when New York City is particularly unforgiving. Days when commutes are long and choked with people. Days when the wind whips around buildings like a freight train and blows your umbrella in half. Days when cabs splash you with puddles of dubious composition as they drive past. Those are the days when I miss certain niceties about New Mexico, which for better or worse, is a place where people will still hold the door for you and smile at you without asking you for money or directions.

Those are the days when simmering a big pot of red chile to pour over things feels most imperative to me. And, because my obsession with breakfast becomes increasingly intense with each passing weekend morning, this particular giant pot of red chile was meant for huevos.

Huevos rancheros. The often mutilated tradition of my home state. I've seen huevos on more brunch menus on the east coast than I can count. They are never correct. Don't let anyone tell you that huevos are simply eggs and tortillas with hot salsa on top. I mean, that's delicious, but it's something else. Huevos should not simply be nachos with eggs. They shouldn't have tomato sauce on them. And for the love of all that is holy, there shouldn't be any corn in them that isn't part of a tortilla. I should have apologized in advance for my tendency to be militant about this. Apologies.

All that being said, there is a ton of room for flexibility here. They can be smothered in red or green chile (or both, Christmas-style). They can have meat or not have meat. There can be beans or no beans. You get the idea. Things of paramount importance: good chile, good eggs, decent tortillas, and cheese. There must be cheese. The chile is best made ahead for two reasons: 1) so that it can sit in the fridge overnight, getting spicier and friendlier and 2) so that you can serve this lazily in the late morning hours with hot coffee and a minimum of effort. These look and taste to me like a 75 degree day with the windows open and a barbecue on the horizon. I hope they'll help you get through March.

Huevos with Red

For the chile:
3oz. whole, dried, NM red chiles (I use these, which they miraculously carry in my grocery store.)
1/2 cup ground, dried NM red chile
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon flour
1 quart chicken stock (or vegetable stock, if you prefer)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch cumin

For the huevos:
4 eggs, room temperature
4 corn tortillas
1 cup or more (I know how you people are) grated cheddar
1 tomato, diced
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
sour cream
butter (for frying eggs)

Soak the whole red chiles in enough boiling water to cover them for 10 minutes, to soften. Drain, let cool until you won't burn yourself to death. Remove stems and seeds and chop the chiles (wear gloves if your skin is sensitive and, for the love of god, don't touch your eyeballs until you've washed your hands at least three times).  Heat the olive oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed (ha ha) Dutch oven or stockpot and add the onions with a pinch of salt, cook until softening and translucent. Add the chopped red chiles, ground red chile, garlic, oregano, cumin and flour and cook 1-2 minutes, to take the rawness out of the flour. This paste should get dark as sin and stain anything it touches. Add the stock, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer until everything is extremely soft, around an hour. Either transfer to blender or use an immersion blender in the pot. Cool and refrigerate overnight (or don't - it will be good now, just better later).

Heat about half your chile in a saucepan (or more, depending on how soupy you want it). If you want to add meat, now is the time. Shredded, cooked chicken or browned ground beef or pork are all delicious here. Heat a splash of olive oil in whatever pan you like to cook your eggs in. Fry the tortillas, just until they're warm and flexible. Put them down first in your serving dish (I like a wide, shallow bowl, but a plate with a rim will work) and sprinkle 1/4 of the cheddar on the hot tortilla. Fry your eggs how you like them. I like my whites just set and my yolks still completely runny. Lay these on top of your cheese and tortillas. Sprinkle another 1/4 of the cheddar over your hot eggs and ladle the chile over the top. Cover with the rest of the cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and top with a dollop of sour cream.


  1. How do you get to New Mexico?

    Got a dollar?

  2. Could you save any leftover chile to use on other things? If so, would the best way to save it be to freeze it or refrigerate?

    1. If you're going to use it within a week or so, it will just get better in the fridge. Otherwise, it freezes beautifully!