Poached Eggs in Red Sauce

To continue with the subject of eggs, I wanted to include a recipe for an egg dish I use for dinner. A Greek friend of mine, who is a fabulous, no-nonsense cook, makes this dish on occasion. Alternatively, you could make this for lunch, however, it is fairly filling. You can play around with the seasonings, making it more or less spicy, and adjusting the amounts of cumin. The leftover sauce is great for soaking some warm, crusty bread into. In addition to bread, I usually serve some feta cheese with a dash of olive oil and dried oregano on top, along with some Kalamata olives. Simple, fast, and yummy….. what you want for a week-night dinner.

For the red sauce:

16 oz. ground organic tomatoes, preferably with no salt added

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1 lg. clove of garlic, smashed and diced

1/2 green pepper, cut into small, thin strips (may be omitted)

1 tsp. sugar

1/4 c. olive oil

1/2 tsp. cumin (adjust to your liking)

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

1-2 bay leaves

1 small dried chili, crumbled into pieces (may be omitted, or substitute with more ground pepper)

1/3 c. water (this is appx.)

salt, freshly ground pepper to taste

Add oil to saucepan, on medium heat; add onion, garlic, and cumin; sauté for 5-6 minutes, until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the tomatoes, sugar (you can omit the sugar, but it gives the sauce a nice, subtle sweetness), salt, pepper, oregano, and chili. Allow mixture to cook for 3-4 minutes. You don’t want the sauce to be too thick, so add some water to the pan. You may need more or less than 1/3 c. water, so just eye-ball it. We’re only trying to thin the tomatoes out a bit, but we certainly don’t want to water-log the pan! Add bay leaves; cover and bring to a very slow simmer, allowing to cook for about 30 minutes. Taste, and if you need to, adjust the seasonings.

Once the sauce is done to your liking, it’s time to add the eggs. Generally I allot 2 eggs per person, but some people, like my husband, require at least 3 eggs, so it all depends on who will be eating. Gently crack the eggs, one by one, into the sauce. Although you may be tempted, do not move the eggs around with a spoon once you have added them into the pan. You want the eggs to stay intact as much as possible. Give the eggs another good grinding of pepper on top, and cover the pan. Be sure to keep checking back frequently, but generally the eggs take anywhere from 5-8 minutes to cook, depending on how runny you like your eggs. In fact, you may want to under-cook them because they will continue cooking once the heat source has been removed. 

Chop a small handful of parsley and garnish atop the dish. I usually take the pan I used to cook the eggs and sauce directly to the table, placing it on top of a hot mat. The dish looks beautiful this way, and friends and family will also enjoy serving themselves in this manner. Just be sure to have everything else in place (cheese, olives, place settings, etc) because once the eggs are done, you want to consume them fairly quickly. Eggs, as great as they are, never taste as eggcellent when they’re lukewarm.

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