Eggs. Ground beef. Two staples in my kitchen. I buy eggs by cartons of 30 and usually have no problem finishing them over the course of their two-week shelf life. Fried, scrambled, hard-boiled, in quiches, cakes, cookies… I am a huge fan of American breakfast, and have no problem whatsoever eating eggs for dinner. Jérôme, however, does not feel the same way. In a pinch, I can convince him to eat eggs and bacon as an afternoon or nightly meal, but usually only if there’s nothing heartier left in the fridge.
A few months ago I ate at a Kurd restaurant in Paris with my colleagues. There, I was served a spicy and fragrant ragout of sorts that appeared to be some combination of ground beef or lamb and spices, and topped with a just-cooked egg. It was clearly baked and was definitely delicious, so I decided to try to recreate the dish at home.
As expected, Jé wasn’t crazy about the idea. He loved the initial preparation of ground beef and spices, red bell pepper, tomatoes… He would’ve easily eaten just that with a bit of crusty bread. Then he realized I was pre-heating the oven. And had eggs out on the countertop. He looked at me with his trademark quizzical expression and decided against asking any questions, for now. When I asked “one egg or two?” the expression intensified, and he quickly responded “uhh, just one for me.” The situation reminded me of when I made empanadas, and he wondered why I went to all the trouble to make and fill the pastry dough when we could’ve just eaten the sweet ground beef filling all by itself. Luckily, he didn’t resist, and while I don’t think he felt the baked egg on top added all that much to the dish, it certainly did on my end. it was the perfect, protein-packed combination of mild egg flavor and strong, spicy meaty goodness. The addition of a sprinkling of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to the egg was just right.
Baked eggs with spicy tomato, red pepper and ground beef sauce
1/3 lb ground beef
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 can of tomatoes, roughly chopped
A small onion, diced
3 T paprika
1 t cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Start by browning the onion in a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once softened, add the red pepper and continue cooking about five minutes longer. Add the ground beef, spices, salt and pepper and brown over high heat, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes more. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the tomato sauce in the bottom of an oven-safe bowl. Add one or two whole eggs to the bowl, season with salt and pepper if desired. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the egg is cooked to your liking. Serve immediately with crusty bread to sop up the sauce.