Meal for One: Eggs Out of Purgatory

When I was a little kid, my grandparents raised chickens.  I remember helping my grandma feed them and having to collect the eggs.  I remember the rooster strutting around and generally being absolutely nothing like Foghorn Legorn.  But mostly I remember them all chasing me around the yard.

Chickens are jerks.

But they do produce tasty, tasty eggs.  And I’ll admit that deep down I always hope that I’ll someday get to raise some chickens in my backyard that will be as awesome as Billina, the talking chicken from Return to Oz or even Chicken Boo from the Animaniacs.  That silly Chicken Boo.  He thinks he’s people.  But mostly, I really just like eggs.

Unlike other breakfast foods, which are often greasy or absolutely bursting with sugar which is not a good way for me to start off the morning, eggs are just complete little packages of deliciousness.  I like them scrambled, fried for sandwiches, hardboiled, deviled, baked with herbs and olive oil, and occasionally I like to go all out on the weekend and I very slowly scramble them over low heat for about 10-15 minutes with olive oil, butter, a touch of cream and shavings of my favorite flavored Monterey Jack cheese.  That last one, by the way, is deadly but delicious.  Eat lovingly but sparingly.

But I also like to make Eggs in Purgatory, which is basically eggs cooked in spicy tomato sauce.  One of my favorite egg breakfasts.  And you know what breakfast is really good for?  Dinner. 

I was on my own last night, as Josh was out buying me a baby elephant doing freelance somewhere.  It was cold, so I wasn’t going to walk anywhere, and I had no car.  I also had been too lazy to defrost any meat during the day and we have no microwave so something vegetarian was the order of the day.  Inspired by something I’d read earlier in the day about incorporating more veggies into your breakfast, I decided to do just that and make a souped-up version of eggs in purgatory–eggs reprieved, if you will.  I had a lot of canned tomato sauce, since Josh had, over the past two weeks, just canned about 75-80 pounds of tomatoes.  And I had onions, garlic, potatoes and bell peppers from our very last Needle Lane farm share box of the week (sob!). And I had olive oil and butter on hand because…well, I always have olive oil and butter on hand.

So it went like this, and again–this is really more of a guideline.  A method, per se.  You can mix and match just about whatever you like in this dish; it’s very versatile.  It’s one of those clean-out-the-veggie drawer sort of things and if there happens to be more than one person at your dinner table, it’s very easy to scale.

First I heated a couple drizzles of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat while I sliced a couple small Yukon gold potatoes and one small onion into half inch rounds.  Then I added a bit of butter to the skillet and placed the potato and onion slices in.  I let them fry there for about the length of two classic Motown hits, or about 7 minutes, until golden on the bottom side.  While they fried, I diced a clove of garlicand one small bell pepper and added them to the pan as well.  After the end of the second Motown song (Bring It On Home to Me by Sam Cooke if you must know), I flipped the potatoes over.  Then I added in two cups of tomato sauce (just cooked, pureed tomatoes—diced tomatoes, salsa, anything similar would also work) and a couple tablespoons of Sriracha sauce (to your taste, of course), and a pinch of salt and pepper.  This I covered and let simmer for 8 minutes or so, until the potatoes were almost tender.  Then I cracked two eggs on top of the tomatoes, sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper, re-covered and let cook for 5-7 more minutes, or until the yolks were set.  I grated a bit of my favorite jack cheese over the top, sprinkled on some chopped green onions and served to myself with a side of cornbread (ain’t nothing wrong with that).

Dinner for one and delicious.

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