The Chef's Take: One-Pot Mexican-Style Beans and Eggs, Jenn Louis

"There was a time when I was eating pasta for dinner every night, and that was 40 pounds ago," says chef Jenn Louis of Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern, in Portland, Ore. "Now I eat a lot more beans and healthy proteins."

This Mexican-leaning recipe, in which canned pinto or black beans stew in a thick, tomato-based salsa before eggs get cracked into the pan, is an example of the sort of flavorful and wholesome meal Louis now enjoys when off the clock. "Eggs are good proteins and beans have lots of fiber. People forget healthy foods can be really delicious," she says.

"I like this meal because it’s a one-pot dish that can go in any direction." Whether brightened by a hit of cilantro, scallions, Cotija cheese (a crumbly cheese found in Mexican markets), or with just a few slices of avocado, this egg and bean combination is a staple for Louis and her husband, who are often in a rush but always expect to eat well.

"We'll have this for dinner when we got off of a late shift or in the morning if we have a long day ahead of us," Louis explains. In addition to filling up on the right sort of calories, the pair always eat plenty of raw greens alongside these filling meals. "I recommend adding a salad to every meal," Louis says.

Mexican-Style Beans and Eggs

Serves 4
¼ small yellow onion
2 small cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup whole peeled tomatoes
½ cup chicken stock
1 chipotle chile in adobo
4 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
2 (14-ounce) cans of pinto or black beans, with liquid
4 eggs
Salt, to taste
Lime, to taste
Optional Garnishes:
Lime wedges
Cotija, crumbled
Avocado, peeled and sliced
Cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Jalapeno, finely chopped
White onion, finely chopped

In a blender, finely puree the onion, garlic, tomatoes, stock, chiles and cumin until smooth.

Heat oil in a large nonstick pan set over medium-high heat. Once hot, pour contents of blender into pan and season lightly with salt. Simmer until sauce reduces by half, about 3 minutes. Stir beans and their liquid into sauce. Cook until sauce simmers and thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.

Crack eggs into pan, leaving enough space between each egg so they do not touch the sides of the pan or each other. Reduce heat to medium-low, so sauce barely simmers, and cover pan. Continue to gently cook until whites are set but yolks remain runny, about 4 more minutes. Serve with the garnishes of your choosing.

Portrait by David L. Reamer

Kitty Greenwald is a Brooklyn-based food writer and recipe developer. She eats a lot for work and pleasure. Her column Slow Food Fast appears in the Wall Street Journal.

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