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Saturday, May 18, 2013


I've seen and made multiple versions of the eggs-poached-in-chunky-sauce meal...one with a bed of sauteed spinach and mushrooms, another with caramelized shallots and a marsala-beef consomme reduction, among others.  This one is a recipe from the cookbook Jerusalem by Ottolenghi that uses a stovetop-simmered pepper-tomato sauce as the poaching bed.  A similar sauce that would probably also work well for cooking eggs this way is this roasted red pepper sauce.

The original recipe calls for harissa, a super-spicy pepper paste, that I don't have on hand.  I used some minced jalapeno and ginger from my freezer stash to bring a little heat and depth of flavor to the sauce.  If you like things hotter, use more or hunt down some harissa.

To chop your pepper finely enough for this dish, I highly recommend using the food processor.  Pulse quickly and stop short of pureeing them.  If you use canned tomatoes instead of fresh, drain them very well to shorten the cooking time needed to thicken the sauce.

I like how quickly the sauce went together and how well this recipe lends itself well to prepping ahead and freezing ahead.  You can chop all the ingredients for the sauce ahead of time and fridge them, or make the sauce completely in advance.  If you're going to freeze the sauce, you can even freeze it in individual portions for a quick meal-for-one.  Just bring the sauce back up to a simmer (from its frozen state even!), crack an egg into the sauce, cover and simmer 8-10 minutes.  Probably this thaw-and-poach process could even be managed in microwave...I don't know offhand how long to zap an egg to poach it, but if you do, let me know!

Makes 4 servings

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced jalapeno
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsp tomato paste
2 large red, orange or yellow bell peppers, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp salt
5 large tomatoes, finely chopped (or 3 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes, very well drained)
4-8 whole eggs, depending on pan size
1/2 cup greek yogurt

To prep ahead, combine jalapeno, ginger, tomato paste, bell peppers, garlic, cumin and salt in one container.  Fridge until ready to cook.

Heat olive oil in as wide a pot as you have.  Add the bell pepper mixture and saute over medium high heat about 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes and simmer another 10 minutes or so, until the sauce is fairly thick.  Mash the sauce slightly if it needs some help thickening up.  Fridge or freeze now, if desired.

Use a spoon to make small "indentations" in the sauce.  Make as many indentations as you can fit into your pan (I can get 6 eggs comfortably in a 11" stovetop casserole).  Crack an egg into each.  Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes over medium, until eggs are set to your liking (10 minutes got my eggs to a firm-but-creamy yolk).  

Serve with a dollop of yogurt and a slice of toast. Pin It

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