Serves 4 with plenty of leftovers
The Rancheros (Green Chile with Pork)
- 3Poblano peppers (approximately 14 ounces)
- 3Anaheim peppers (approximately 14 ounces)
- 1pound pork side ribs on the bone
- 1pound pork stew meat (cut from the hip or shoulder), cut into 2-3 inch pieces
- 1/4cup flour
- 2tablespoons butter
- 6teaspoons canola oil
- 1large sweet onion, roughly chopped
- 4cloves garlic, finely minced
- 3/4cup diced tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)
- 3/4cup chicken broth
- 2 1/2cups water
- 1/2teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1teaspoon salt
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 sautéing 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The Huevos (Eggs)
4-8Eggs (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
- 1handful of roughly chopped cilantro (about 1/4 cup)
- 1handful grated Queso Fresco cheese (about 1/4 cup). Feta or a hard goat cheese will also work.
- 4flour tortillas (one per person), plus extra for serving at the table
- Green Chile with Pork (above recipe), kept warm on the stove
- 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 side’s 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 gentle simmering, add vinegar. If water starts to get hotter than a gentle simmer, lower heat, if needed.
- 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 towel, gently dry egg. Repeat this process with other eggs.
- 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 minutes. You want them to be just beginning to puff slightly, but the tortillas should still be soft, not crisp.
- 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.
Dig in and enjoy!