21 September 2015

Cajun Style Eggs in Purgatory with Cheesy Polenta

Sunday night and an easy cozy dinner is called for ... it was cooler today. Fall has arrived!

Last night, SB and I went to the local high school football game and lounged on the bleachers knoshing hotdogs and baked goods that the sports team kids were hawking for their team fundraisers. On the way home, there was a turn in the air, a breeze kicking up, and a distinct drop in the temperature. We knew that today would bring a change in the weather!

I found this recipe in an American Test Kitchen cook book that tailors recipes to small batch cooking.
This recipe made enough for two hungry folk. If you add a salad or bread or some other side, you'll have enough for a third serving or leftovers for next day lunch (or breakfast!). The ATK cookbook recipe has quick grits as the side dish for these eggs, but we love cheesy polenta, so I'm including my polenta recipe with ATK's egg recipe ... it's a nice collaboration.

American Test Kitchen's 
Cajun Style Eggs In Purgatory with Cheesy Polenta


2 3/4 c. low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 c. medium grind polenta
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 c. grated smoked Gouda cheese
2 tbsp. half & half

2 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled, set aside
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 medium green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (put as many sets and veins in as your 'heat tolerance' takes
1 generous tbsp. tomato paste
1 - 15 oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes, chopped with juices
4 large eggs
black pepper and chopped chives for spice and garnish

Making the Dish:

1. Bring the chicken stock, baking soda, and Kosher salt to a boil in a deep saucepan.
2. While the chicken stock is heating, fry the bacon, crumble it and set it aside on paper towels.
3. Use the same pan and the bacon fat to fry up the onions and green peppers.
4. When the peppers and onions are softened a bit, add the garlic and tomato paste and stir to make a slurry. Fry about 30 sec.
5. Add the fire-roasted tomatoes and a bit of water to make a thick sauce. Lower the heat, cover the fry pan, and simmer while you make the polenta.
6. While briskly stirring the chicken stock, sift the polenta into the stock. Continue stirring until the polenta thickens and begins to bubble. Lower the heat to the lowest you've got, cover the pan and let the polenta simmer (oh, so gently), stirring often to keep it from sticking. When the polenta has just a bit of 'bite' to it, remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and half & half to make it creamy and soft. Set it aside, covered while you make the eggs.
7. Remove the cover on the tomato slurry and use a large spoon to make indentations in the vegetables. Crack the eggs into the indentations, sprinkle them with black pepper and set the cover back on the pan. Simmer the mix until the eggs whites are cooked and the yolks are soft.
8. Reheat the polenta while the eggs cook ... you can add a bit more half&half if the polenta has thickened too much for your taste.
9. To serve, spoon polenta onto a rimmed plate and scoop some vegetables and eggs onto the side of the polenta mound.
10. Sprinkle with the reserved bacon bits and some chopped chives and serve with a cold beer or a nice glass of red wine. 


  1. Wow Susan, I love the texture of your polanta.
    In Italy we have creamy and firm polenta too but I think your soft polenta is more comfort..

    1. Manu, I've been wanting to try making the really firm polenta so that I can cut it in oblong 'bars' and grill it. Do you put cheese or herbs in your firm polenta?

    2. Susan, you are right, you can cut firm polenta into slices (such as a cake)
      There are a lot of way to dress the slices:
      -cream and gorgonzola cheese
      -ragù (something like lasagne)
      and so on...
      There is also a particular way to eat polenta (my mum taught me): dunk squares of polenta in a bowl of milk.

  2. I have wanted to try eggs in purgatory for a long time. This dish looks delicious, and I like the addition of the polenta.

  3. every single thing on this plate is calling to me... I always forget to make cheesy polenta and I must remember as yours looks and sounds so good.

  4. It's strange with the tomato taste. It's better to add some green vegetables. It will be more attractive.
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    1. I have heard of eggs in hash before making this dish, but I think the point of the original 'purgatory' take was to spice things up dramatically Cajun style. I agree that adding greens would make this an entirely different dish. Perhaps I'll try that next time I make it ... but what greens do you think?


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