Eating a Mexican breakfast is probably one of my favorite meals of the day. You can go with something sweet and simple like pan dulce or something spicy and savory like Machaca con Huevos. The latter dish is a mixture of dried shredded beef, eggs, onions, tomatoes and chile peppers.
In Mexico, there are a number of breakfast foods that reign supreme and machaca con huevos is on the top of the list. Other savory breakfast meals are red or green chilaquiles, huevos divorciados, chorizo con huevos, or chorizo con papas. The machaca con huevo is hearty enough to keep you satisfied until lunch time. This is a traditional dish in the northern state of Nuevo León, Mexico. Maybe it is the combination of eggs with the dry meat that people really enjoy having it for breakfast with warm flour tortillas. But honestly, you can eat this meal for lunch or dinner.
Diana Kennedy reports that Machaca became a breakfast staple in such Northern Mexican states as Nuevo Leon and Chihuahua, primarily because these were cattle-raising areas. Kennedy writes,”Before the days of refrigeration, practically the only way of preserving beef in the arid cattle states of North and Northwestern Mexico was to make beef jerky. The meat is cut into thin slices, sprinkled with lime juice and salt, and then hung up in the sun to dry. It is then pounded into shreds and becomes carne machacada–from the Spanish word machacar, to pound.”
Machaca can be found in the Hispanic section of large supermarkets or in Mexican grocery stores. Making the machaca itself is a three-part process. Using skirt steak, first you slow braise in tomatoes, onions and garlic until meltingly soft. Then you shred and dry the meat into chewy strands. Originally the sun did the drying, but nowadays an oven on a low temperature does the job wonderfully. Machaca is something you can make in big batches and then refrigerate or freeze for later use.
Once the beef has been cooked and dried, you shred the meat finely. The dried beef, or carne seco, has just the right touch of saltiness – and the chewiness of the beef is the perfect foil for the tender scrambled eggs. It’s rich and super-satisfying.
Machaca con Huevos
Serves: 6 persons
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
8 large eggs
2 cups shredded beef or carne seca (found in Hispanic grocery stores)
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 serrano chile peppers, minced
2 tablespoons of lard or vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons milk
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium-sized bowl, scramble the eggs with the milk and set aside.
- In a large frying skillet over medium high heat, sauté the onions until translucent, about three minutes.
- Add the garlic and green bell peppers and Serrano chile and stir for another two minutes.
- Add the beef and allow the meat to get warm and mix in with all the other ingredients.
- Add the scrambled eggs and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with refried beans and warm flour tortillas.
Stephen, the first time your Grandma Dolly made machaca for us, it was with venison. Her brother-in-law, Joe Dioses of Las Cruces, New Mexico, sent us venison he had hunted and butchered himself and sent it to us frozen. She cut it into strips as his wife, Carmen, taught her the previous fall. She hung it out on a special cotton rope line each morning; covered it with cheese cloth to keep the birds from contaminating it; and brought it in each evening to prevent the dew from ruining it. We sure enjoyed the fruits of her labor.
Wow! That is amazing. Thank you for sharing the story.