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Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Feta

January 24, 2014

When I was growing up, my parents frequently made huevos rancheros for a quick vegetarian supper. If you’ve never heard of it, huevos rancheros is a Mexican breakfast dish: the basic idea is eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce/salsa, served over tortillas and sprinkled with cheese. Like many kids, I hated runny egg yolks and insisted that my parents cook my eggs until they were essentially hard boiled. But now my taste in eggs (and my appreciation of food textures) is a little more developed. :)

I was looking for a quick dinner idea a few weeks ago, preferably something I could make with what I had in the pantry, and I found this recipe in the December 2011 issue of Bon Appetit. It sounded very similar to huevos rancheros, but when I read further, it turned out that this version is actually a north African dish! I didn’t have any pita bread to serve with it, but we had naan bread left over in the freezer, and that worked just as well as an accompaniment.

The inclusion of chickpeas in the sauce gave the dish some body, and the tangy feta went perfectly with the spicy tomato flavor. I loved the way this dish turned out; my husband was a little bit more ambivalent about it. He’s never really cared for mixing the flavors of eggs and tomatoes though, so I wasn’t expecting it to be a favorite. I think it grew on him though because I made it again the following week and he didn’t complain! :)

Eggs poached in tomato sauce with chickpeas and feta

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/4  cup olive oil
  • 1  medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4  garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2  jalapeños, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1  15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 2  teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1  teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1  28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand, juices reserved
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  cup coarsely crumbled feta
  • 8  large eggs
  • 1  tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1  tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • Warm pita bread

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeños; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add chickpeas, paprika, and cumin and cook for 2 minutes longer.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes and their juices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle feta evenly over sauce. Crack eggs one at a time and place over sauce, spacing evenly apart.
  3. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, 5 to 8 minutes. Garnish with parsley and cilantro. Serve with pita for dipping.

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