Monday, June 21, 2010

Eggs in Purgatory

Eggs are dropped into a bed of fiery tomato sauce, made from fresh tomatoes paired with chunky Rotel and enhanced with bacon, onion and sweet bell peppers, and then passed in the oven to set, topped with cheese and served over cheese grits.
Eggs are dropped into a bed of fiery tomato sauce, made from fresh tomatoes paired with chunky Rotel and enhanced with bacon, onion and sweet bell peppers, and then passed in the oven to set, topped with cheese and served over cheese grits.

Eggs in Purgatory

Eggs in Purgatory is one of those recipes that I consider to be a lost classic. You don't hear about it much anymore, though thanks to us bloggers, it seems to be making a resurgence in the past couple of years.

I see folks doing it all the time, but I have never been one to put ketchup on eggs, though I do love them with salsa, especially in a breakfast wrap. I absolutely adore these Eggs in Purgatory though, done up in a bed of thick and spicy creole tomato sauce. They are just delicious!

Called Eggs in Purgatory here in the Deep South, because the eggs rest on top of a bed of fiery tomato sauce, just about every country in the world seems to have some version of this dish, Shakshuka probably being the most well know.

Hard to tell where it actually originated, but no matter. They are mighty fine and a great breakfast, brunch, or supper meal anytime.

Now, before we start... I got one of those Southern Style Hissy Fits for ya...

Don't go gettin' all up in arms because I am cooking tomatoes in a cast iron skillet. I know some of you will want to.

I cook pretty much everything in my cast iron. In my experience, if you have well-seasoned cast iron - and you start off with a fat of some kind - a key when cooking with cast iron to me - and you don't use the skillet as a storage container for the tomato dish, it's perfectly fine.

Not only that, but according to author and nutritionist, Cynthia Sass, tomato sauce, when cooked in a cast iron skillet, has nine times more body beneficial iron in it. One recent study with women who were not deficient in iron, found that when they increased their dietary iron, they had a 50% less reduction in fatigue and more energy.

Feel free to use a heavy, stainless skillet or any skillet that can go from stove-top to oven, if the thought of this strikes fear in your mind though! {tucking away the soapbox}

Let's get busy making some Eggs in Purgatory!

First, start off with a bit of bacon. That's good already! Of course, if you're observing Lent, this is a good dish to eat - just sub in butter for the bacon.

Then you'll need to pluck a couple of ripe tomatoes out of your garden and get the skins off of them. That method of boiling is the traditional old-fashioned way, and it's easy enough. Click the link here and you can see the whole process here....  but I have to tell y'all - I discovered the soft skin peelers and let me tell you, there's nothing easier. You really should get one!

Still don't fret if you've got more tomatoes than a peeler can handle, because it's only a little bit more work boiling them to remove the skins if you don't have one of those handy. Simply bring a pot of plain water to a full, rolling boil and carefully ease the tomatoes into the boiling water. You can cut a little "x" into the bottom of each tomato before putting them in the boiling water which seems to help speed up the process.

Once it comes back to a boil, just keep an eye on the tomatoes until the skin begins to split, usually about a minute or so, if that long. You don't want to have cooked tomatoes! Remove and plunge into an ice bath to stop them from cooking.

 The skins should peel right away now.

Chop up some onion and green bell pepper.

Add that to the bacon.

Oops, forgot to photograph the tomato paste step. Add the tomato paste in with the bacon, onions and bell pepper and cook for about 3 minutes.  Then, add the chopped fresh tomatoes. 

Then, add the canned Rotel tomatoes.

Let that simmer on medium low for 30 minutes until it has reduced and thickened. While that is cooking, fix some garlic cheese grits.

Make four wells in the skillet and drop an egg into each one. You could probably squeeze in another one or two eggs if you have a large enough skillet.

Sprinkle the eggs with salt and pepper and using potholders, very carefully transfer the entire skillet to a preheated 325-degree F oven. Let it bake for about 10 minutes or until the yolks are set where you like them.

Carefully remove the skillet and sprinkle the eggs with a bit of shredded cheese, if you like. Return to the oven just long enough to melt the cheese.

Using a large spoon, scoop out an egg with some of the sauce and place the egg onto a bed of cheese grits and garnish with the bacon. Grab a thick slice of buttery toast and devour.

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Posted by on June 21, 2010
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