Occasionally, I appreciate a blueberry pancake or a bowl of Cap’n Crunch. But my standard breakfast is eggs, cheese, and hot sauce or salsa, with toast or a tortilla. This year I delegated the meal preparation for my guided backpacking trips to a Boulder, Colorado, ultrarunner who has worked at some of the city’s best restaurants, and I asked him to develop a recipe along these lines.
He came back with the Southwest egg burrito. It’s fussier than other meals on our menu but my personal favorite.
- 4.6 ounces (130 grams)
- 474 calories
- 103 calories per ounce
- 1.1 ounces dried scrambled eggs
- 2 ounces tortillas
- 0.5 ounce powdered cheese
- 0.4 ounce instant beans
- 0.1 ounce nutritional yeast
- 0.1 ounce dried onion
- 0.1 ounce taco seasoning
- 0.3 ounce green chilies
- Salt, pepper, and red-pepper flakes to taste
This breakfast could be made with as few as two ingredients: dehydrated eggs and a tortilla. But it’d be tasteless, so I encourage you to at least add cheese and salt. The other ingredients are optional, but they take the meal to another level.
The 4.6-ounce serving size has been field tested and deemed appropriate for most backpacker appetites. If you’d like to add calories (and flavor), you might consider crumbled bacon.
For those with a milk or lactose sensitivity, Augason Farms and other vendors offer whole dried eggs (sans milk).
Conveniently, the dried beans are the cornerstone of another recipe, my world-famous beans and rice with Fritos and cheese.
The powdered cheese is more user-friendly than fresh cheese, since it can be prepared beforehand and isn’t temperature sensitive. However, fresh cheese is an acceptable substitute; I recommend sharp cheddar.
Our ten- and 12-person groups will easily consume a four-ounce can of green chilies. But for smaller groups and soloists, dried green chilies or hot sauce may be a better option.
Combine all of the dry ingredients for a single serving, and pack them in a plastic snack bag. Do not combine ingredients for multiple days and multiple individuals with the expectation of dividing it in the field—you will probably not divide it equally, and the recipe needs an exact amount of water.
On group trips, we keep the green chilies and tortillas together and distribute them in the field at mealtime.
For most of my meals, the instructions are simple: boil water and add the ingredients. This meal is an exception. Follow these instructions closely:
- Combine all dry ingredients and spices with exactly four ounces (a half cup, or 120 milliliters) of cold water.
- Bring this to a simmer, scraping the eggs regularly to keep them from burning and sticking to the bottom of your pot.
- Once fully scrambled, remove your pot from the heat. Add chilies and transfer into a tortilla.
I need to emphasize three points, because this meal can be easily ruined by user error:
- Only add four ounces of water. If you use too much, you’ll get egg soup.
- Use cold water. If you add the dry ingredients to hot water, the eggs will harden into nuggets, leaving you with egg-nugget soup.
- Scrape regularly. Act as if you’re cooking scrambled eggs at home without a nonstick pan or cooking spray. But don’t stir them so vigorously that they become whipped either.