When you poach eggs in a ranchero-black bean sauce then melt jack cheese over the top and add crispy tortilla strips and lime sour cream, you’re just begging for brunch to happen. Make these baked ranchero eggs with blistered jack cheese this weekend and give yourself an excuse to stay in your jammies all day.
I often feel like I waffle (heh) between two phrases that sum up my food life:
“but first, coffee.” and
“you had me at brunch.” or cake. or pie. sigh.
Seriously though, I’m a HUGE brunchy food fan. Breakfast as breakfast. Breakfast as brunch. Breakfast as dinner. It doesn’t matter. These baked ranchero eggs with blistered pepper jack cheese basically fit all of the above. After flipping passed this recipe for years in one of my favorite cookbooks, we finally got down to making it for our New Year’s Day brunch.
And truthfully, had I planned better, we would have been eating cinnamon rolls or egg casserole that morning but I digress. I ended up having everything on hand for these baked ranchero eggs and we weren’t AT ALL disappointed by my lack of planning. Poached in a spicy black bean sauce similar to shakshuka, the eggs are topped with a mound of pepper jack cheese that you’ll broil to melty perfection and then topped again with crispy tortilla strips, fresh cilantro, and lime sour cream. Basically, this meal sits at the crossroads of the Tex-Mex- and breakfast-lover’s dreams and I couldn’t have misplanned our first meal of the new year any better!
I really did just pull a bunch of ingredients from my fridge and pantry for this recipe. Instead of canned black beans, I used about 1 cup of refried black beans we had leftover from our brisket tacos night. I had 1 can of diced fire roasted tomatoes and about 1 cup of leftover whole peeled tomatoes in the fridge so into the blender they all went. Also to note, I halved the recipe and made 6 eggs in a 10-inch pan.
- 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, roughly chopped
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans or 1 (28 oz) can fire roasted whole (preferably) or diced tomatoes
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 1 large or 2 smaller cloves garlic, smashed and peel removed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained or 1 ½ cups leftover refried black beans
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 (6-inch) tortillas - corn or flour
- Kosher salt
- 12 large eggs
- 4 oz shredded Monterey jack cheese
- 1 lime, juiced (about 2 tbsp)
- 1 cup sour cream
- ¼ chopped fresh cilantro
- To make the ranchero sauce: Preheat oven to 450° F. Add the jalapenos, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and a heavy pinch of salt and pepper to a blender; blend until smooth. Pour the sauce into a 12-inch ovenproof skillet and stir in the black beans; bring mixture to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until the sauce is slightly reduced.
- To make the crispy tortilla strips: Meanwhile, brush a large baking sheet with half of the olive oil. Brush the tops of the tortillas with the remaining oil and cut them into ½-inch wide pieces, about 2-3 inches long. Arrange the strips flat on the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and bake for 3-6 minutes, flipping halfway through the time, until they are golden brown. Once finished, remove them from the oven and turn the broiler on.
- To make the lime sour cream: In a small bowl, mix the lime juice, sour cream, and a pinch of salt together; set aside.
- To cook the eggs: After the ranchero sauce has slightly thickened, take the pan off the heat and break the eggs over the sauce, arranging them as evenly separated as possible. Return to medium-low heat, cover, and simmer gently for about 8-10 minutes, until the whites are just about set.
- Remove from the heat, cover the top of the egg-sauce mixture with the shredded cheese and broil for just a couple of minutes until the cheese is bubbly and blistered and browned in places.
- To serve: Garnish with dollops of the lime sour cream, chopped cilantro, and plenty of the crispy tortilla strips. Serve hot and immediately.
adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman