Breakfast with a Bite

Fiery Foods Manager In the Kitchen with Chile Peppers Leave a Comment

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by Nancy Gerlach, Food Editor Emeritus

Nancy Gerlach

     Recipes in this Issue:

  • Caribbean Fresh Fruit Compote with Habanero Spiked Syrup

  • Papas con Chile Colorado

  • Huevos Rancheros with Black Bean Salsa

  • Southwest Breakfast Burritos

  • Blue Corn Chimayo Chile Bacon Muffins

  • Breakfast Pizza

We all know the importance of starting the day with a healthy breakfast, but lets face it, bland toast and oatmeal can get pretty boring day after day. To relieve this boredom, why not add some chile to the menu and have a breakfast worth waking up for!

I must admit that I do love breakfast, but not when I first get up. Well, nowhere is written that breakfast and breakfast food is only served early in the morning. Serve it early or late, or combine the names and hours of the meals and have brunch, which is my favorite meal to serve on a lazy weekend with my family or entertaining friends. At this time of day the menu can be simple or elaborate, hearty or light, but at my house whatever I serve, brunch always contains chile in some form.

So no matter the time of day that you serve your “breakfast,” here are some delicious ways to start any day. The following recipes include several “spiced-up” old favorites as well as some new hot dishes. Use these recipes for building a substantial feast or just add fruit or juice for a lighter meal. Whatever you choose will give a new meaning to the words “power breakfast”.

Caribbean Fresh Fruit Compote with Habanero Spiked Syrup

Use this “hot” fruit compote to accent any breakfast or brunch. Since this habanero syrup compliments a wide variety of fruits, vary the ones you use depending on what is in season.

  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • ½ teaspoon ground habanero chile

  • 1 cup cubed fresh mango

  • 1 cup cubed fresh papaya

  • ½ cup sliced strawberries

  • Garnish: Fresh mint leaves

Add the vinegar, sugar, and chile in a small saucepan and stir to mix. Heat the mixture over high until just below the boiling point, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.

Combine the fruit in a large mixing bowl. Pour the sauce over the fruit and toss to coat.

Ladle the fruit into individual bowls, garnish with the mint leaves and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Heat Scale: Hot

Papas con Chile Colorado

The “colorado” here refers to the red color of the chile rather than the state of the same name. These potatoes are commonly served in place of hash browns at breakfast as well as at lunch and dinner. They are especially tasty when made with new potatoes because of their creamy texture and taste. Substitute chopped green New Mexico chile for Papas con Chile Verde. If using new potatoes, double the number of potatoes.

  • ½ cup chopped onion

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons crushed red New Mexico chile, seeds included

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled or unpeeled, diced

  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic until they soften and start to brown. Remove them from the heat to a bowl and add the chile to the skillet. Saute for one minute and add to the onion mixture.

Toss the potatoes with the onion mixture until they’re well coated and place them in a baking pan. Bake the potatoes for 40 minutes, or until they are tender.

Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the potatoes and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Heat Scale: Medium

Huevos Rancheros with Black Bean Salsa

Probably the most famous of all the chile breakfasts is huevos rancheros, or ranch eggs. This was the meal traditionally served to Mexican ranch hands after a hard early morning’s work. The basic recipe calls for salsa, tortillas, and eggs, but there are an endless number of variations of the recipe. For instance the eggs can be fried and placed on the sauce or poached right in the sauce, and the salsa can be made with red or green chile, which can be homemade or prepared.


  • 1 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1 medium tomato, diced

  • ½ cup diced red onion

  • ½ cup diced green bell pepper

  • 6 serrano chiles, stems removed, diced

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • Eggs:

  • 4 eggs

  • 4 corn tortillas

  • Vegetable oil for frying

  • 1 small avocado, peeled and diced

  • Garnish: Grated Monterey Jack cheese and chopped fresh cilantro

To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients and let the mixture sit for at least an hour. Or if you prefer, prepare the night before and refrigerate, covered, overnight.

Before serving, pour the sauce in a pot and simmer to heat.

Pour the oil in a small skillet to a depth of an inch and heat until hot. Fry each tortilla in the oil for a few seconds on each side to soften, remove and drain. Pour off all but a couple of teaspoons of oil.

Add the eggs to the pan and fry to desired doneness.

To Assemble: Place a tortilla on individual plates. Stir the diced avocado into the sauce and ladle some of the sauce on each tortilla and top with an egg. Garnish the eggs with the cheese, sprinkle the cilantro over the top, and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Heat Scale: Medium

Southwest Breakfast Burritos

This is an all-purpose filling that is used here in a to make a breakfast meal wrapped in a warm flour tortilla, but it is also great as a filling in taco shells. In fact, the eggs taste great all by themselves. Whichever way you eat them, they make great breakfast sandwiches.

  • 8 ounces chorizo sausage, casing removed

  • ½ cup chopped onion

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • 6 eggs, beaten

  • 1 tablespoon crushed dried red chile

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 tomato, cored and diced

  • 1 cup grated cheese, cheddar or Monterey Jack

  • 1 small tomatoes, cored and diced

  • 1 small avocado, peeled and diced

  • 4 flour tortillas

  • Garnish: Chopped fresh cilantro

Cook the chorizo in a skillet over medium heat stirring occasionally to break up and clumps. Remove the chorizo and drain on a paper towel. Pour off all but a couple of teaspoons of the accumulated oil. Return the pan to the stove.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan and saute until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the eggs, chile, and cumin, and mix in the pan. Scramble the eggs until firm and done. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese, tomato and avocado.

Divide the eggs evenly between the 4 tortillas and garnish with the cilantro. Roll the tortillas, burrito-style and serve.

Serves: 4

Heat Scale: Medium

Blue Corn Chimayo Chile Bacon Muffins

Three distinctive flavors combine and complement one another in these muffins–the saltiness of the bacon, the nutty flavor of the blue corn, and a subtle chile heat that is not immediately discernable. These muffins need not be served at breakfast only. They compliment almost any chile dish, barbecue, or Southwest meal. You can substitute yellow corn meal for the blue if blue cornmeal is unavailable.

  • 4 strips bacon

  • 1/4 cup blue cornmeal

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground red Chimayo chile, or substitute any ground red New Mexico chile

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine, or bacon drippings

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a muffin tin.

Fry the bacon in a skillet until it’s crisp. Remove the bacon, drain on a paper towel, and crumble it. Reserve the drippings for the muffin if desired.

In a large mixing bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together. Set the mixture aside.

In another bowl, combine the milk, egg, butter or bacon drippings, and crumbled bacon. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to just mix them.

Divide the batter evenly among 12 to 15 muffin cups, filling up each one about halfway. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool the muffins on a rack and serve them warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 12 to 15 muffins.

Heat Scale: Mild

Breakfast Pizza

Pizza for breakfast-why not? After all, Italians love cold pizza with hot cappuccino for breakfast. But rather than cold pepperoni, I’m proposing a hearty and hot breakfast pie. Use frozen prepared dough and hash browns for easy, quick assembly.

  • 1 pound thawed frozen pizza or bread dough

  • 1 cup thawed frozen hash brown potatoes

  • ½ pound cooked spicy sausage, drained (optional)

  • 6 eggs

  • 1 tablespoon milk

  • 1 cup chopped green New Mexico chile

  • 6 green onions, chopped

  • 1/4 cup chopped black olives

  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried oregano

  • Salt

  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese

  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Press dough into a 10-inch round pizza pan making sure it covers the bottom and pinch up the sides to form a rim. Let the dough rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cover the bottom of the dough with the hash brown potatoes and sausage. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the top.

Beat the eggs, milk, onions, olives, oregano, and chile together in a large bowl. Pour the mixture over the hash brown mixture. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake the pizza for 35 to 40 minutes or until the egg mixture is set. Allow the pie to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before cutting.

Yield: 6 servings

Heat Scale: Mild

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