Spicy Baked Eggs with Tomato & Bacon Sauce
I found this simple little beauty in a book called Man up Your Meals. It's one of those types of books that costs pennies (OK, pounds but very few of them) in those bargain books kinda stores, and doesn't have the author's name on the front. Given my well (self)documented large appetite, I'm sure you can figure out why it appealed to me.
There's a wonderful, earthy-smokey flavour to this dish that's very satisfying, but I couldn't help but feel there was one (just one) thing missing. So I added cheese, and my life was complete.
It doesn't look particularly appetising I have to admit (sweetcorn does that) but the taste more than makes up for it.
So what are you waiting for? Get your Cook on!
2tbsp cocount oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
2tsp garlic puree
225g lean smoked bacon, diced
1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2tbsp tomato puree
1tsp brown sugar
1tsp cayenne pepper
1 325g tin sweetcorn
4 large eggs
This is probably supposed to serve four people. First time I scoffed it all to myself with some bread. I did fear I may die afterwards. Second time I made it, I served it for two, with an amazing three-cheese bread (from Tesco) and some hassle back potatoes.
1. Melt the butter and oil in a saucepan, over a low heat.
2. Add the onion, celery and garlic, and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
3. Add the bacon and red pepper, and cook for another 10 minutes. Again, stir occasionally.
4. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato puree, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and water. Season with salt & pepper, and turn up the heat to medium. Bring to the boil.
5. Pop the oven on at 180º (160º fan, Gas Mark 4) to preheat.
6. Reduce the heat on the hob, and let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
7. Stir the sweetcorn into the sauce, mix through, and transfer to an oven-proof dish.
8. Using a spoon, make four small hollows in the mixture, and break an egg into each.
9. Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes, until the eggs have set.
10. Serve Immediately.
It was a close-fought battle at the top, with Tesco's £14.54 just edging out Morrisons' £14.67.
It was a similarly close encounter at the other end, with Sainsbury's (yes, Sainsbury's) just pipping ASDA for third, at £18.06 vs £18.12.
In both cases, it was the coconut oil that made the difference (as is often the case). Without it, the results would have been turned almost completely on their head, with Sainsbury's & ASDA taking first and second, followed by Tesco and Morrisons. There would only have been a difference of £0.61 from top to bottom!
The easiest (and most required) tweak I could think of for this one was to sprinkle some cheese on top. It's definitely worth it!
The other regards the adding of the eggs to the mixture. In the picture above you'll see that two of the eggs have spread (at the bottom of the picture) but two have not. The latter is the most desired effect, and I achieved it by using two loose-bottomed mini tart tins (with the bottoms removed) as egg rings. Place them (or whatever roughly cylindrical tools you can muster) into the oven-proof dish, and pour the sauce around them. Then break the eggs into the make-shift (or actual!) egg rings, before removing. To avoid burning the eggs, you may have to butter or oil the bottom of the dish first.
You could make this veggie-friendly by leaving out the bacon. At the opposite end of the scale, you're not obliged to use sweetcorn. I couldn't particularly taste it, but I did enjoy the texture.
If you do use bacon, you don't necessarily have to used smoked, but it really does help flavour the entire dish, as does the cayenne pepper which can be adjusted or substitued depending on your spice threshold.
How about adding some sliced, cooked sausage, to make an all-day breakfast style variation, perhaps served atop potato waffles, rosti, or soda farls?
This one comes from Man Up Your Meals published by Parragon Books.