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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Baked Eggs with Mexican Tomato Crema

Sometimes, you just want comfort food. Comfort food is different for everyone--macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, tuna-noodle casserole--but this recipe is Mexican comfort food. Eggs are an important part of the Mexican diet, and are eaten every day. This baked eggs recipe is delicious, comforting, and easy.

Here are the ingredients I used for my baked eggs. Eggs (of course), onion, garlic, a poblano pepper, crushed tomatoes, heavy cream and cheddar cheese.

The cheddar cheese is actually just for garnish.
The first order of business is to turn your oven to 350 degrees so that it heats while you do the prep work. Then, turn your attention to the pepper. I like a smokey flavor in my sauce, so I fire-roasted my poblano pepper. I grew the peppers in my garden this summer, so it was a bit frosty out of the freezer. To fire-roast your pepper, use a pair of tongs to hold it above the flame of a gas burner until it is blackened and charred all over. You can also put it in a very hot cast-iron pan and roll it around until it blisters if you don't have a gas stove.

Next, peel the blackened bits off the pepper if you'd like, remove the seeds if you want to (leaving them in will make a spicier dish) and mince. Chop an onion, too. Remember, the amount of pepper you use is totally up to you. My poblanos were very spicy this year, so I only used half a pepper. Mince a couple of garlic cloves, too.

Saute' the onion and pepper together with a bit of salt in a tablespoon of oil, using an oven-safe pan. It's important to use a pan that is oven-safe since we will be baking the eggs in this pan. Once the onion is soft, add the minced garlic to the pan.

Cook the garlic for about a minute, then add a can of crushed tomatoes. I used home-canned tomatoes from this past summer's garden. Canned crushed tomatoes from the store will work, too. Use a big can. Stir everything together, making sure to scrape up the yummy browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Allow this to simmer on the stove for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Get it as thick as you'd like. You don't want it to be watery.

Once the sauce has thickened, add a touch of heavy cream. Don't be as greedy as I was--I added too much. Should have measured it instead of just pouring it from the carton!

Stir in the cream, and simmer for five minutes. Taste your sauce for seasoning, see if it needs salt or pepper. It's finished at this point.

See? Too much cream.

Carefully crack a few eggs into the sauce. I was feeding a hungry family of four, so I used quite a few eggs. You can use as many eggs as you'd like, as long as there's some space between each egg.

Carefully transfer the entire pan to the pre-heated oven, and bake until the eggs are as done as you like them. If you like runny yolks, bake for less time than if you like firm yolks. Poke the eggs with your finger to see how done they are.

Done! You can either serve with just cheese and tortillas for a simple meal, or go all-out and serve with refried beans, tortillas, cheese, sour cream and guacamole. I'm always looking for excuses to serve guacamole, it's one of my favorite things in the world. YUM!

Baked Eggs with Mexican Tomato Crema

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 poblano or jalapeno chili, fire-roasted and chopped
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-8 eggs  
  • grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • corn or flour tortillas
  • Optional garnishes: refried beans, sour cream, guacamole, cilantro, sliced radishes--anything that sounds good to you
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degress. 
  2. Heat olive oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add onions and chili and sauté until onion is translucent and softened.
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant,  about one minute.
  4. Add can of crushed tomatoes, stirring up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes until it has thickened slightly.
  6. Add the cream, and simmer an additional five minutes.
  7. Carefully crack the eggs into the simmering sauce.
  8. Place the skillet of eggs into the oven, and bake for 10 minutes or so, or until the egg yolks are as set as you like them.
  9. Put a tortilla on a plate, and top with a big scoop of egg and sauce. Add grated cheddar cheese and any garnishes you'd like.

This recipe is almost not a recipe at all, just an idea. If you don't like some of the ingredients, add others. Add some cilantro and cumin to the sauce. Make it spicier, or leave the hot pepper out entirely.  If you don't like Mexican spices, add Italian ones and serve with Parmesan or mozzarella cheese over toasted Italian bread (absolutely amazing, by the way). Enjoy playing with the basics on this one, and eat well!

EDITED TO ADD: I had several requests for the beans, guac, and tortillas I served with these eggs. You can find the recipes here.