Specialty of the House: Joule’s Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros from Joule.
Huevos Rancheros from Joule.

Editor’s note: The News & Observer seeks recipes from Triangle restaurants requested by readers.

My husband and I are heartbroken that Joule on Wilmington Street in Raleigh has closed. We go there for brunch probably every other weekend, if we are able to.

Is there any way they would share their Huevos Rancheros recipe or most importantly, their pancake recipe with us? That pancake defies description and we can’t imagine never having it again. We would be so grateful.

Elizabeth and Mike Ross

Joule was one of the many Raleigh restaurants owned and operated by James Beard Award-winning chef Ashley Christensen. It closed at the end of 2016 and will soon become St. Roch Oyster + Bar, a restaurant by Christensen’s former employee and Joule’s former head chef, Sunny Gerhart.

Christensen was willing to share the huevos rancheros recipe, and her writing partner, Kaitlyn Goalen, sent a family-style version that is more friendly to the home cook.

For those who miss weekend brunch at Joule, there is relief coming. Christensen plans to revive the weekend brunch at her flagship restaurant, Poole’s Diner, this spring.

The brunch service at Poole’s ended in summer 2013. With the revival, Poole’s new brunch menu will include many of the favorites from Joule, including seasonal hot cakes, huevos rancheros and the “hangover” grits bowl, as well as new items. Brunch service will be 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

While Christensen was not willing to part with Joule’s pancake recipe, there is reason for hope. From what I understand that recipe may be included in her next cookbook, which will focus on entertaining.

Specialty of the House gets recipes for local restaurant dishes. Send requests, including your city, to Specialty of the House, The N&O, P.O. Box 191, Raleigh, N.C. 27602; or email

The restaurant

Poole’s Downtown Diner

426 S. McDowell St., Raleigh


Huevos Rancheros

Charred Chile Sauce:

4 Roma tomatoes

1 poblano chile, stemmed and cut into quarters

1/2 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded for less heat

1/2 yellow onion

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon sea salt

Pico De Gallo:

3 Roma tomatoes

1/3 cup diced yellow onion

1 jalapeño, minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Black Beans:

2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil

1/2 cup diced yellow onion

1 jalapeno, diced

1 (16-ounce can) black beans, drained (or approximately 2 cups cooked from dry)

1 dried chipotle pepper

1 bay leaf

2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

2 to 3 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil

8 eggs

4 large crispy tortillas

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Sour cream

Sliced scallions

Make the charred chile sauce: Slice the tomatoes in half across the equator. Using a paper towel, wipe a thin layer of oil over the surface of a cast-iron skillet and set it over high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the tomato halves, cut side down, along with the poblano, jalapeño, onion and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are charred on one side, about 4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes to cook the peppers all the way through.

Transfer the vegetables to a small saucepan and add enough water to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over low heat. Cook, simmering, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, adding water if the vegetables begin to stick to the bottom. Transfer the ingredients to a blender and puree with the salt until the mixture is a pourable sauce (add more water if it’s too thick). This dish can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Rewarm over medium heat until it gently simmers before assembling the dish.

Make the pico de gallo: In a small bowl, mix the tomatoes, onion, jalapeño and salt. Set aside. (The pico can be made 2 to 3 days in advance and refrigerated).

Make the black beans: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil until it shimmers. Add the onion and jalapeño and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the black beans, chipotle pepper, bay leaf and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook until thick, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the salt. Remove bay leaf.

Preheat the broiler element of your oven. In a large baking dish, spread the beans into a single layer, then arrange the crispy tortillas in a layer on top (they can overlap). Cover evenly with the grated cheese. Transfer to the oven and cook until the cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes (but watch carefully, the time will vary depending on the strength of your broiler). Set aside while you finish the eggs.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil until shimmering. Working in batches so as not to overcrowd, crack the eggs into the skillet and fry to your desired doneness (over-easy, over-medium or over-hard). Transfer the eggs to the baking dish, spreading them out across the surface. Then pour the chile sauce over the top. Serve the dish with pico de gallo, sour cream and scallions.

Yield: 4 servings