This is a classic of the Portuguese kitchen. Peas braised with bacon, chouriço, tomatoes, red wine, and finished with poached eggs and a generous sprinkling of coriander. It was a dish my mother made often, and my Algarvian grandmother, before her. It is comforting, rich and yet surprising light. In Portugal, it is a main dish, but I often serve it as a starter with some rustic crusty bread to mop up all the sauce. My mother used to add red wine, so that's how I make them, but feel free to use white or omit all together. I like my eggs runny, so I only cook them for 6-7 minutes. If you prefer a hard yolk, cook for a total of 10 minutes.
Portuguese Braised Peas and Eggs ❦ Ervilhas com Ovos Escalfados
500 g. Frozen garden peas or petit pois, thawed (I used petit pois, place in a bowl of cold water to thaw quickly, drain before use)
60 ml. Extra virgin olive oil
6 Large free-range eggs
150 g. Smoked bacon lardons
150 g. Chouriço (Spanish chorizo is fine)
1 Large onion, diced
6 Cloves of garlic, minced
2 Bay leaves
3-4 Peeled plum tomatoes, (I used canned)
1 tbsp. Tomato paste concentrate
1 tbsp. Red wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp. Sweet paprika
1 tsp. Ground ginger
150 ml. Dry red wine
125 ml. Chicken or vegetable stock (can also use water if no stock to hand)
60 g. Fresh coriander /cilantro to finish
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Piri-piri sauce to taste (optional)
Fresh rustic crusty bread to serve
1. In a stock pot, on medium heat, add olive oil. Once hot, add bacon and chouriço. Fry, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 7 minutes, or until both are nice and crisp.
2. Add onions and garlic. Cook for 2-3 mins. whilst stirring.
Add tomato paste. Let fry for 30 seconds and quickly add the vinegar and wine. Stir to deglaze pan. Add peas and all remaining ingredients, except coriander and eggs.
3. Cover and lower heat to a simmer. Let braise for 15 minutes.
4. After 15 minutes, uncover and make a small dent into the surface of the peas. Crack an egg into the crevice. Repeat over surface 5 more times. Cover and let cook 6-7 minutes without stirring. Eggs will poach with sauce and steam.
For a hard yolk, cook for 10 minutes.
5. To serve, using a deep spoon or ladle, scoop up one egg and peas into a bowl. Scatter with chopped fresh coriander and serve immediately.