Suburban backyard chickens and ‘Breakfast of Gringos’.

I was in Brisbane with my family recently and they were in charge of feeding their neighbours chooks which means they get to keep the loot. I was so impressed with this ultra neat and tidy, home-built chicken coop I just had to tell you. There are only three hens, I am not sure what breed they are, and they were capable of at least 3 eggs a day. Good girls. In the chook yard they have planted a lemon, a lime and a flame tree and they keep the grass fresh as the girls really like a good peck through it.

With our loot on the first day I made lasagne with fresh pasta, see here for my lasagne, with left over pasta dough for fettucine. I am a bit keen on baking eggs in a tomato based sauce in the oven, usually I make Moroccan meatballs and crack eggs into the tomato sauce for the last 20 minutes of cooking. The yolks become so creamy even though they are cooked for so long, it is a much gentler heat than boiling. Another dish in this vein is eggs cooked in a tomato sauce for breakfast. I thought I would combine this thought with a version of Huevos Rancheros where instead of the fried eggs on tomato sauce and tortillas with refried beans I will bake the beans in a tomato sauce with mexican chillies then crack the eggs into the sauce for a slow poaching.

Huevos Rancheros

First up, the beans. I soaked 400g dried butter beans overnight, then simmered them with onion, garlic, bay leaf and whole black peppercorns. If you have access to epazote (Jaggers or Chili Mojo in Adelaide or Mexican supplier in your city, or grow it), use a good pinch if dried or a few stems if fresh.

The tomato sauce. Fry 1 onion and 2 cloves of garlic until lightly golden and softened, add tomatoes, 1 tin or fresh, peeled and chopped, 2 tsp chipotle powder or to taste and season with salt and cracked pepper. Add some water so you have something to reduce while the tomato cooks out (if you have used tinned) and it becomes a spicy sauce (20 mins).

I must now apologise for my stray from authenticity here, Huevos rancheros is a mid morning hearty meal with roots deep into Mexico. A dish from the Yucatan Peninsula, Huevos Motulenos shows these roots, it is layered corn tortillas, eggs, salsa piccante, black beans and cheese. I am heading towards the US border with my re-hash of this quite old Mexican dish.

Moving on. Drain the beans and put the tomato sauce and beans in an oven pot with a lid, cover and bake 20 mins. Crack 3 or 4 eggs (or however many people you are feeding) into different parts of the bean dish, add more water if it seems too dry, cover and return to the oven for another 20 minutes. Warm the totillas under a grill, slightly crisp up for better results but watch them with your life so they don’t burn.

Layer the beans and eggs with the tortillas, top with what ever you like provided it is one of the following: slices of avocado, crumbled mild cows milk feta, chopped fresh coriander, sour cream, wedge of lime, fat slices of fried chorizo or combination of the above.

Muchos gracias chicas at number 47.