Huevos Rancheros is a famous Tex-Mex dish. Typically, it consists of a fried egg on top of a fried tortilla and some ranchero sauce, a relatively mild chili pepper and onion salsa. It can be garnished with all sorts of things: avocado, cilantro, lettuce, cheddar cheese, picante sauce, and so on.
Well, it can be done with tofu instead of eggs and the result is very delicious. This is a wonderful brunch dish, but it takes time to prepare. It’s good to make a pot of coffee and start early. You won’t be disappointed!
If you have any leftovers here’s a good way to use those. I had it this morning for brunch. Take a flour tortilla, spread it with refried beans, add the tofu and a bit of cheddar. Roll it into a burrito and cook in a skillet until warmed through, pressing and flipping once or twice. I topped the burrito with picante sauce and some of the special hot sauce I brought back from Belize. It was a filling start to the day with some skillet potatoes!
Are you ready? Let’s go!
14 oz firm or extra-firm tofu, drained
½-1 jalapeño, depending on heat level desired
1 medium size mild chili, such as a poblano or cubanelle
1 lb ripe tomatoes, preferably Roma
1 Tbsp oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano, preferably Mexican
½ tsp cumin
¾ tsp sea salt
2 tsp oil
6 corn tortillas
½ cup shredded cheddar jack cheese, optional
Press the tofu.
Place a small weight, such as a can of beans, on top of the tofu. Don’t press too long for this recipe, though. You want some moisture to soak up the seasonings, otherwise the tofu will be very dry. About 20 minutes is good. After that, remove the weight and set aside in the refrigerator.
Make the ranchero sauce.
Place the oven rack in the top slot and preheat the broiler. Broil the jalapeño and poblano peppers until slightly blackened, turning and watching closely. They’ll burn to a crisp fast! I wanted a nice poblano, but I got the last one in the bin and it was definitely the runt of the litter. So I grabbed a cubanelle, which has a similar taste profile, and supplemented with that.
Pull your chilis out when they look like this:
Immediately put them into a plastic bag and seal it so they can steam. Set aside in the bag until cool.
While the chilis steams we’ll peel the tomatoes. Removing the skin helps release the true tomato flavor, particularly in the winter months. It’s an extra step that’s worth it. Start by bringing a medium saucepan to boil.
I find the easiest way to do this is to use a large serving fork and spear the tomato on it, like this:
Place the tomato in the water and remove when the skin starts to split. It will only take 15-45 seconds typically, although some tomatoes may never split. I usually just remove those and cut them with a knife.
Once split, drop the tomato into a bowl of cold water to stop cooking.
Once all the tomatoes are cooling in the water, it’s time to peel the chilis. Just grab a section that’s loose and gently begin peeling it off. It won’t all come in one piece and you’ll probably have areas that don’t peel at all. Get as much as you can and don’t worry too much about the rest.
I usually don’t peel the jalapeño, but you can if you like. I recommend wearing gloves when you’re handling it so that you don’t forget later and touch your eye… or anything else.
Seed the chilis so they’re not as hot, if desired. Chop them into small pieces. Remove the skins from the tomatoes. They generally will slip right off, but sometimes you have to work at it a bit. Dice the tomatoes, cutting out the cores.
Cook the ranchero sauce.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and saute until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the chopped chilis and tomatoes, red wine vinegar, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and sea salt.
Simmer covered for 1 hour stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down. If the sauce is too thick, add some water, vegetable stock, or tomato puree. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Chop the sauce in a food processor until smooth. You may also leave it as is for a more rustic sauce. Return to saucepan and keep warm.
Make the scrambled tofu.
Heat a medium skillet and add 2 teaspoons oil. Crumble the tofu into the skillet and cook stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown and water cooks off. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm.
Make the tortillas.
You can bake them or lightly pan-fry them. They were crispier when baked and chewier when fried. To bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the tortillas on a cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes, turning halfway through. To fry, heat a skillet and spray it. Cook each tortilla 6 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Assemble the plate.
Place one tortilla on a plate. Top with 1/3 cup of the scrambled tofu and ¼ cup of the ranchero sauce. If desired, sprinkle with 1 to 2 tablespoons cheddar jack cheese. You may also top with guacamole.