Spice up the traditional colors of Christmas by serving red and green Holiday Huevos Rancheros for a simple, but festive, holiday brunch.
Written and Photographed by Jynx Jenkins
The shopping is finally done. The gifts are wrapped and under the tree. The stockings are stuffed. The cookies left for Santa have been reduced to crumbs and another carton of eggnog has been relegated to the recycling bin. But there is still one holiday tradition that has yet to be tackled.
And, if you’re house is like Gonzalo Valdez’s, family holiday traditions don’t sleep in.
“In our house, it’s a tradition to start Christmas morning very early with a huge family breakfast together,” says Valdez. “And, of course, we try to keep it simple, but we end up with enough food to feed an army – sometimes there are four or five of us cooking at the same time.”
Meals tend to be the center of any holiday gathering, after all the prime directive of the holiday season is to eat, drink, and be merry. But sometimes the old standby of ham or turkey with all the trimmings needs a twist. That’s where unexpected ingredients meet an unexpected hour of the day to fantastic results.
For many families across the Treasure Valley, that twist is taking a turn south of the border.
“My dish, every year without fail, is huevos rancheros,” says Valdez, who combines both a traditional tomato salsa and vibrant green salsa verde in his no-fail recipe for a twist on the traditional Mexican breakfast dish.
And this is where Valdez gets a helping hand from a local favorite – Treasure Valley Salsa.
Treasure Valley Salsa’s six varieties of Scovie Award-winning salsas are familiar faces to most area shoppers. These lively blends of tomatoes, jalapeño, onion and more have been found in nearly every local grocery store and culinary shop in the Treasure Valley.
As of August, Treasure Valley Salsa also began distributing their wares in 150 Fred Meyer locations throughout the Northwest. Owned since 2010 by Eagle resident David McCown, Treasure Valley’s shelf-stable, jarred salsas are not only the perfect quick snack throughout the holiday season, but the next best thing to making it yourself for recipes like Valdez’s.
“You’re really relying on the salsas to impart flavor to the rest of the dish,” he says of his breakfast. “So the closer to homemade, the better.”
Not only will Valdez’s huevos rancheros add a festive zing to your holiday table, it won’t leave you chained to the kitchen while the family celebrates without you. Better still, the recipe can be easily adjusted to feed as many family members as you have, and leftovers can be tucked away for a quick fix throughout the day.
GONZALO VALDEZ’S HOLIDAY HUEVOS RANCHEROS
This dish is an impressive breakfast or brunch offering of perfectly baked eggs nestled in a festive red and green salsa bed. It’s fast, simple and can be easily scaled to feed as few or as many gathered around the table. This version serves 4.
Nonstick Spray (such as PAM)
1/3 c. Treasure Valley Salsa, Salsa Verde (heaping)
1/3 c. Treasure Valley Salsa, Medium (heaping)
8 large eggs
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
½ cup queso fresco, crumbled
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 400⁰ F.
Lightly spray a medium to large baking dish with nonstick spray. Spoon Salsa Verde into one long half of baking dish. Repeat with Medium Salsa on remaining side. Lightly press the salsa with the back of a spoon to create 8 evenly spaced nests for the eggs. Break one egg into each nest. Salt and pepper entire dish to taste.
Bake approximately 15 minutes in preheated oven until whites are fully cooked and yolks are still creamy. Remove from oven. White still warm, sprinkle with crumbled queso fresco (can substitute shredded Monterey jack for a creamier style). Just before serving, garnish with chopped cilantro to taste.
Serve with plenty of warm tortillas, flour or corn.