Thursday, 5 December 2013

Heaven-Sent Supper!

Uova in Purgatorio con Zucca & Olive
"Eggs in Purgatory" with Pumpkin & Olives

There are many dishes that my mother used to make that I love to enjoy now and reminisce about my childhood and growing up in a house filled with my 8 other siblings and mealtime, one of the few times of the day that we would all be gathered around together... but this variation on "eggs in purgatory", which my mother used to fix for us back then is one that always makes me feel warm and cosy :-)

Trying to manage to feed 9 children must have been a momentous task, but mother was always resourceful and dishes like this, which is basically eggs poached in a tomato sauce were perfect as they were inexpensive and delicious. With some nice crusty bread to dip into that yummy sauce and the lovely poached egg- who could ask for more? Well... on this evening, 30 years later... me- that's who!

I decided to elaborate a little on the original dish and to add some pumpkin and olives to make it a little more satisfying this evening... I hadn't eaten all day and there they were in the fridge with no one to save them from their fate- and so into the pan they went!

To make this simple dish, I began MY version and single-serving of "eggs in purgatory" by sautéing the diced pumpkin, a some finely diced onion and garlic, half a stalk of finely diced celery in just a little olive oil. This was just a handful or so of pumpkin for this good portion. I stirred them around until the onion became translucent and then added a tablespoon of tomato paste and stirred this in well for 1-2 minutes- this will take away any of the bitterness that the paste might have.

I then deglazed the pan with just enough boiling water to cover everything and stirred it through well so that the paste dissolved completely. I then added 5-6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half, a handful of sliced black olives, a handful of whole basil leaves and a bay leaf. I seasoned with salt, pepper, a hint of nutmeg and a pinch of sugar and let the pumpkin and sauce simmer gently for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes were up, the pumpkin was almost good, the tomatoes were totally cooked into the sauce and it had reduced and thickened down somewhat, so I of course topped up the sauce with more boiling water. But this time, as I knew the sauce would reduce further by the time the egg had poached, I pushed the sauce back a little, leaving a bit of a well in the middle of the pan and poured the water in there. As soon as it began to boil, all I needed to do now was to crack my egg and drop it carefully into the middle of the pan, where it could gently poach away for the following 5 minutes or so.

After 5 minutes, the bottom of the egg was nicely set, but the top was still looking a little soft, so I put on the lid and let it continue to simmer and gently steam for a further 5 minutes or so. Obviously, the time you cook your egg for is a matter of taste, but generally speaking, as it is only half submerged it will not cook as quickly as a normal poached egg with swims fully submerged in boiling water... but we are not in that much of a hurry are we folks?

With a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper and some fresh thyme for an extra, added "kick" of flavor, supper was ready to enjoy! The pumpkin and the egg were nice, mild flavors which combined wonderfully with the tart and fruity tomato sauce and the richness of the olives- with a little fresh bread- this really was a treat! And one that I hope you try for yourselves sometime soon!

1 comment:

  1. You were one of EIGHT children? Wow... what an experience it must have been.

    I love eggs in purgatory but never thought to add pumpkin. Sounds nice, though—I'll have to try it some time soon.