Mexican Eggs In Purgatory

It may not win a beauty contest, but it gets 5 stars for taste. 

It may not win a beauty contest, but it gets 5 stars for taste. 

Eggs that are cooked in a thick, robust tomatillo sauce and served with warm tortillas are the perfect answer to "What can I make for breakfast when my guests stay over?" Easy to make, healthy, nutritious, economical and delicious, this zesty dish is a great way to begin the day. 

Because you can make the sauce a day or two ahead, all you have to do in the morning is reheat it, drop in some eggs and pop it under the broiler. You can cook the eggs until the whites are done but the yolks are still nice and runny.

You may be familiar with Italian Eggs in Purgatory, because it is a very common dish on brunch menus. It consists of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. I wish I could take the credit for creating this Mexican version, but I have adapted it from a recipe in Food & Wine.  I like the idea of making the sauce ahead (not a surprise) and then reheating it in the morning. You then have the option of cooking and serving the eggs in it right from the skillet or transferring the sauce to a casserole and then adding the eggs. 

How deep you want to delve into purgatory is completely up to you.  If you really want to visit hell, substitute an habanero for the jalapeno. If you like spicy but still like to breathe, leave the seeds in the jalapeno.  For a milder sauce, remove the veins and the seeds. I always chop extra jalapenos to stir in at the end if the sauce isn't spicy enough. Remember my old adage, "You can always add. You can't take away." 

1 pound tomatillos, husked and quartered
1 jalapeño, stemmed and seeded (See above) 
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems, lightly packed, plus more for garnish
3 scallions, coarsely chopped, plus sliced scallions, for garnish
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 ounces thickly sliced bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
8 large eggs
2 tablespoons grated Cotija or feta cheese, plus more for garnish  
Warm corn tortillas, for serving

  1. In a blender or food processor, add the husked tomatillos, poblano, chopped cilantro, chopped scallions and chicken broth and puree until smooth.
  2. In a large, shallow flameproof casserole or skillet, cook the bacon in the olive oil over high heat until the bacon is browned, about 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the tomatillo puree and cook over moderate heat until the sauce is thickened and turns a darker shade of green, about 15 minutes.
    TO MAKE AHEAD: Sauce may be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Before continuing, reheat it in an ovenproof skillet or reheat in a saucepan and transfer it to a 9”x13” casserole.
  3. Using the back of a spoon, make 8 depressions in the tomatillo sauce. Carefully crack the eggs into the depressions. Sprinkle the eggs and tomatillo sauce with the 2 tablespoons of cheese.
  4. Preheat the broiler and position a rack about 8 inches from the heat source.  Broil the dish until the egg whites are set but the egg yolks are still runny, about 4 minutes. Garnish with more cheese, sliced scallions an cilantro. Serve right away with warm corn tortillas.

Makes 4 servings of 2 eggs each. 


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