Spirit of the Harvest: Huevos Motulenos

March 31, 2010

Spirit of the Harvest: Huevos Motulenos
Renowned food author Beverly Cox, winner of the James Beard cookbook award, a Julia Child award and a IACP cookbook award, and food editor for Native Peoples Magazine, contributes a monthly column and weekly recipes to TankaBar.com. The Spirit of the Harvest columns are published the second Wednesday of every month. Recipes from Beverly run on intervening Wednesdays.


Serves 4 to 8


1 recipe Chiltomate (cooked tomato-chile sauce). See recipe below.
2 cups Tsah Bi Bu'ul (black bean puree). See recipe below.
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 ripe plantains, peeled and cut in 22 diagonal slices, or 8 bananas, peeled and split in half lengthwise
Vegetable oil for frying tortillas and eggs
8 (4- to 5-inch) corn tortillas
8 large eggs
1/4 pound baked or boiled ham, cut in small cubes
2 cups fresh or frozen peas, cooked
2 cups crumbled queso fresco
1 or 2 habanero chiles, thinly sliced (optional)


In separate saucepans, heat the Chiltomate and the beans; keep warm.

In a saute pan, melt the butter and vegetable oil over medium-high heat and cook the plantains or bananas until golden brown on both sides. Set aside.

Pour oil to a depth of about 1 inch in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Fry the tortillas one at a time, turning once, until crisp, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of oil from the skillet. Fry the eggs over medium-high heat until the whites are set but the yolks are still soft.

Arrange the plantains or bananas on a warm plate. Spread a spoonful of beans over each tortilla. Place the tortillas on top of the plantains. Place 1 or 2 fried eggs on top of the tortillas. Spoon Chiltomate over the eggs and garnish with the ham and peas. Sprinkle with the cheese. Top with a slice or two of habanero chile, if using. Place each finished plate in a warm oven until all are assembled. Serve immediately.

(Makes 3 1/2 to 4 cups)

1 or 2 fresh habanero chiles
1 large white onion, unpeeled
5 or 6 medium-size, firm ripe tomatoes, or 12 plum tomatoes, unpeeled and halved
2 or 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano or 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
Salt to taste

Preheat a griddle or a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Roast the vegetables and the garlic on the griddle for 6 to 8 minutes, turning them with tongs to brown all sides.

Peel and dice the onions, tomatoes and garlic. Place the roasted ingredients in a mortar or blender or food processor and grind or chop to the desired consistency.

Melt the lard in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salsa and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the oregano and cilantro, and season to taste with salt.

(Makes about 8 cups)

One 16-ounce package dried black beans
1 fresh jalapeno chile, roasted
1 head garlic, roasted
1/2 cup lard or vegetable oil
1 white onion, roasted, peeled and chopped
Salt to taste

Pick over the beans to remove any debris and rinse under cold running water until the water is clear. Place the beans in a large, heavy, nonreactive pot and add enough distilled water to cover them by 5 inches. Soak the beans overnight. (Or bring the beans and water to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes; cover, turn off the heat and allow to soak for 1 hour.)

Add the roasted jalapeno and the entire head of garlic to the beans and place the pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer. While the beans are cooking, gently stir them every 20 minutes or so and make sure there is adequate water -- at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches above the beans. (If you need to add more water, add boiling water because cold water tends to toughen the beans.) Cook until the beans are nearly tender, about 3 to 4 hours.

While the beans are cooking, melt the lard in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and lard to the beans and continue to simmer for about 1 hour more, until the beans are tender and the flavors have blended. Remove the garlic and chile. Season the beans with salt to taste.

To puree, place the beans in a food processor or blender and pulse on and off until pureed. If the mixture is too thin, cook the puree over low heat, stirring often so the beans don't stick.

Beverly Cox is the food editor of Native Peoples Magazine and a former food editor and director of food styling for Cook's Magazine. She holds a Grand Diplome from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and apprenticed with Gaston LeNotre.

Beverly has written 13 cookbooks, including Spirit of the Harvest, North American Indian Cooking, winner of the James Beard and IACP cookbook awards in 1992, and Spirit of the West, Cooking from Ranch House and Range, winner of a Julia Child award in 1997, and Spirit of the Earth, Native Cooking from Latin America, an IACP cookbook award finalist in 2002, all co-authored with food photographer Martin Jacobs. Their most recent book is Eating Cuban, 120 Authentic Recipes from the Streets of Havana to American Shores.

Beverly and her husband, Gordon Black, an architect turned rancher, live on the historic Eagle Rock Ranch in Northern Colorado where her great grandfather homesteaded in 1872. Beverly teaches hands-on cooking classes for small groups who want to combine cooking with the experience of visiting a working cattle ranch.

You can contact Beverly at BeverlyCox@TankaBar.com

For more information about Beverly's cookbooks featuring Native American recipes:

Body, Mind and Spirit: Native Cooking of the Americas

Spirit of the Harvest: North American Indian Cooking

Spirit of the Earth: Native Cooking from Latin America

For more information about Native Peoples Magazine: Native Peoples

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