One of the main reasons why I bought Andy the Hungoever Cookbook [sic] is because I take a sick kind of enjoyment from the food involved in being hungover. Feeling like shit is clearly not good, but whipping up a culinary treat to make yourself a bit better is strangely pleasurable.
The book’s author, Milton Crawford, talks a bit about this in the introduction – Hula Hoops and Diet Coke are fantastic, but as long at you’re not planning anything too strenuous, standing around in the kitchen cooking is a satisfying way to ease yourself back into feeling normal, especially at a weekend.
Huevos rancheros are one of the best things to eat post=boozing – as with a Bloody Mary, that killer combination of tomatoes and spices seems to have instant benefits, lifting not just your hangover but your mood too. The other excellent thing about huevos rancheros is that unlike a full English, you’re almost guaranteed to have all the ingredients ready and raring to go in your cupboard. Oh, and cheese aside.. it’s pretty healthy too. Certainly better than a bacon sandwich and way more satisfying too.
The recipe I use is just the classic from Thomasina Miers, which you can find in Mexican Food Made Simple. I know there are some poor souls out there that don’t have the book though, so here it is again.
Oh – and as I consider eggs to be the devil’s own food, I just skip them. Yes, I know. I know that they are the main part of the dish and indeed, where the dish gets its name, but I quite happily just eat the tomatoes in a big cheesy wrap and don’t feel I’m missing out at all. Although when Andy eats his I will concede that it looks better on the plate with a big ol’ egg smashed on top. EGGS ARE EVIL, DOWN WITH EGGS.
[Relentless bullying about this egg omission from Harriet led me back to Histor’s Eye on This Morning with Richard Not Judy. EGG EGG EGG EGG EGG]
Thomasina Miers’ Huevos Rancheros Recipe
Serves 4 (or two hungry hungover souls)
You will need..
5-6 tbsp lard or dripping (essential! I use White Flora which lives in the fridge for this purpose only)
1 onion, chopped
2 red chillies, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tins of plum tomatoes (that’s what Thomasina says, although I’m sure normal chopped ones would suffice)
Salt and black pepper
1 tsp demerara sugar
A splash or five of Worcestershire sauce
Obligatory splashes of Henderson’s Relish, although that’s my addition
A small handful of chopped tarragon (unless I’m planning to be hungover, I usually don’t have tarragon in the fridge and it tastes just fine without)
Loads of grated cheese. Good stuff, nothing mild.
Heat two tablespoons of lard in a wide saucepan and add the onion and chilli. Let them sweat over a low heat for ten minutes then add the garlic, cook for a few minutes more, then add the tomatoes. Season well with salt, pepper, sugar and Worcestershire sauce/Henderson’s relish, breaking up the tomatoes as you go. Leave the tomatoes to cook over a low heat for up half an hour, adding a little water if they get too dry. If you’re really hungry, don’t worry about waiting.
When the smell has taunted you sufficiently and you’re ready to eat, melt another tablespoon of lard in a frying pan and gently turn the flatbreads in the fat. This sounds rank, I know, but it makes them SO delicious. Scoop out of the lard one by one, wrap in foil and stick in the oven to warm through.
If you have the tarragon, add it to the sauce and stir through.
Egg time! If you are a normal person who likes eggs, melt another couple of spoons of lard in the pan and turn up the heat until the fat is sizzling. Fry your eggs, spooning lard over so they turn golden at the edges and fully absorb the flavour. Season.
Get your tortillas out (for the lads), top with tomato sauce and egg if you’re that way inclined, then cover with cheese.