Huevos Rancheros cornmeal crêpes are a delicious twist on the humble Mexican breakfast dish. Keep things simple or push the boat out by dressing them up with a few additional Mexican inspired goodies if desired.
I love Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday as it is more formally known. But, truth be told, on this day I'm all for the style I grew up with - thin English pancakes - rather than the thick and fluffy American pancakes I'm usually more than fond of. Sorry.
I find it hard to settle on a favourite pancake topping though. I like savoury fillings just as much as sweet, so I decided to create these huevos rancheros crêpes for my family this year.
The inspiration behind these Mexican crêpes stems from some fantastic cornmeal waffles I made recently (you can find the recipe on Beyond Mere Sustenance). Ideas began to flow and I was soon intrigued to see if I could come up with a good batter and topping for cornmeal crêpes.
As it turns out, cornmeal makes fantastic crêpes with a gorgeously yellow hue and they are the ideal base on which to pile some simple and homely flavours.
Of course, since cornmeal is an ingredient frequently used in Mexican cooking, my mind wandered in that direction. So I've used those cornmeal crêpes to create a twist on the much revered Huevos Rancheros.
Authentic Huevos Rancheros Ingredients
Huevos rancheros or rancher's style eggs are a very simple, rustic and cheap meal often served at breakfast in Mexico. It consists of runny-yolked fried or poached eggs along with fiery tomato salsa all served on fried tortillas.
Talking of that salsa, authentic huevos rancheros typically uses a cooked salsa. Ideally seasoned with hot green chilli such as Serrano. To make my version:
- Blend fresh tomatoes, garlic, dried oregano, salt and chilli (half to start with) in a pan until pureed. Taste and decide whether to add more chilli
- Next add some water & olive oil and let simmer gently for 15-20 minutes until the sauce has darked and thickened considerably
If you are looking for a milder salsa, perhaps to suit younger tastes, leave out the hot green chilli and add some ancho chilli powder instead. Ancho chilli powder imparts a deep and rich flavour to the salsa whilst keeping the heat mild. Over time you could introduce a little more heat if tastes allow.
How to Make Cornmeal Crêpes
It is exactly the same process to make cornmeal crêpes as it is to make traditional crêpes:
- Dry ingredients (equal quantities of cornmeal and flour) are weighed into a bowl with a pinch of salt mixed in
- An egg is cracked in, then a ¼ of the milk is beaten or whisked in (I use a handheld balloon whisk
- The remaining milk is gradually added and everything is whisked together until the batter is smooth. It should have the consistency of single cream
- Rest the batter for 20 minutes
Next cook the crêpes:
- Place a 6-7-inch nonstick frying pan or crepe pan over medium-hot heat and allow to warm through for 1 minute
- Add a knob of butter and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Let it sit for a minute to get hot. Pour in ⅙ of the batter. Immediately pick up the pan and swirl it to spread the batter into an even layer on the bottom of the pan
- Let cook undisturbed for 1-2 minutes until it has lightly browned on the bottom. Use a spatula to flip it over and cook the second side for around 1 minute
- Transfer to a warmed plate and keep warm in a low oven whilst the remaining batter is cooked (proceed from step 2 for each subsequent crepe).
Additional Toppings for Huevos Rancheros Cornmeal Crêpes
Exact ingredients for huevos rancheros recipes depend on who is making them - like so many classics. Some people insist on using corn tortillas, others flour. Likewise, refried beans or black beans often make an appearance too.
Authentic huevos rancheros are so tasty in their own right that additional toppings are shunned by many. And that's fine, I completely agree that extras are not essential.
I do, however, confess that I'm not too traditional when it comes to food and I'm a little greedy to boot. So I can rarely resist adding a little extra something to my rustic eggs in tomatoes.
And since these Mexican crepes are a spin on the traditional rancher's style eggs, I certainly won't judge anybody for indulging their ambitious appetite by adding a few embellishments too.
Here are a few ideas that you may also decide to add to your plate:
- queso fresco (or use feta if this Mexican cheese eludes your shopping basket)
- avocado (chunks or guacamole)
- fresh coriander
- sliced green chilli
Incidentally, if you are lucky enough to have the option of Mexican chorizo in your neighborhood, go for it.
Mexican chorizo is flavoured with chillis and vinegar whilst Spanish chorizo incorporates garlic and smoked paprika. They are quite distinctly different.
I could only find Spanish chorizo in my nearby shops, so I used it in this recipe. Though it served it's purpose perfectly well, I would have preferred to use the Mexican variety crumbled over the top.
What's for dessert?
If you are in the mood for something sweet after these Mexican crepes try out my tiramisu pancakes. They are sure to end your Shrove Tuesday supper in style.
My honey baked pears would work wonders on plain pancakes with a dash of cream or a scoop of ice cream too.
But if you've had enough pancakes, how about a speedy stovetop rice pudding? It's hearty and substantial, making it perfect February food.
Do you have a favourite pancake topping? When I was a child my Dad would keep me transfixed on Shrove Tuesday with his intrepid mix of butter, vinegar and sugar. What's your weird and wonderful creation that leaves other diners wide-eyed in wonder?
Huevos Rancheros Cornmeal Crêpes
- 6 Eggs (large, free-range)
For the Cornmeal Crêpes
- 50 g/ 1 ½ oz Cornmeal (fine)
- 50 g/ 1 ½ oz Plain flour (all purpose)
- ⅛ teaspoon Salt
- 1 Egg (large, free-range)
- 250 ml/ 1 cup Whole milk (full fat)
For the Salsa (see notes)
- 4 Tomatoes large, ripe
- 1 Green chilli Serrano or jalapeno
- 1 Garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon Dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon Water
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Ancho chilli powder (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 1 Avocado (Large, ripe)
- 30 g/ 1 oz Queso Fresco (or feta cheese)
- 60 g/ 2 oz Chorizo (Mexican if possible)
- 115 g/ 4 oz Refried beans or black beans
- Green chilli (serrano or jalapeno)
- 15 g/ ½ oz Coriander leaves Cilantro
- 2 teaspoon Lime juice
Make the Batter
- Weigh the cornmeal and flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt and stir
- Crack an egg in, then add ¼ of the milk. beat briefly with a balloon whisk (or wooden spoon) then gradually add the rest of the milk, whisking until the batter is smooth. It should have the consistency of single cream
- Rest the batter at room temperature for 20 minutes
Make the Salsa
- Chop the tomatoes roughly and place in a pan with the garlic, dried oregano, salt and half of the chilli (leave the seeds in for extra heat)
- Puree using a stick blender the taste. Add extra chilli according to taste
- Next add the water and olive oil and heat. Let simmer gently for 15-20 minutes until the sauce has darked and thickened considerably. Keep warm
Prepare Additional Toppings
- Slice the chilli
- Skin and chop the avocado. Toss in the lime juice
- Crumble the cheese
- Strip the coriander leaves from the stem
- Slice and fry the chorizo
- Put all toppings in serving bowls
Cook the Crêpes
- Preheat an oven to a low setting around 100C/ 220F/ GM ¼ and put a plate in to warm
- Put a 6-7-inch non-stick frying pan or crepe pan over medium-hot heat and allow to warm through for 1 minute
- Add a knob of butter and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Let it sit for a minute to get hot
- Pour in ⅙ of the batter (about 60ml). Immediately pick up the pan and swirl it to spread the batter into an even layer on the bottom of the pan
- Let cook undisturbed for 1-2 minutes until it has lightly brown on the bottom. Use a spatula to flip it over and cook the second side for around 1 minute
- Once cooked transfer to the warmed plate and keep warm in the oven whilst the remaining batter is cooked
- Proceed from step 2 for each subsequent crepe
- When all 6 crêpes are cooked, fry the eggs in a large frying pan until the whites are cooked but the yolks remain runny
Assemble the Huevos Rancheros Crepes
- Put 2 crêpes on each plate, overlapping as necessary
- Divide the salsa between the crepes and spread out
- Top each crêpe with an egg and take to the table with all optional extra toppings served alongside