When I saw the bags of fresh peas at the local supermarket earlier this week, I jumped on them like a fat kid on a smartie with the intention of making one of my most favourite comfort foods of all, just like my grandmother used to make.
This dish isn’t particularly pretty to look at (hence the lack of photo), but it warms you right down to your bones whether it’s a rainy late summer afternoon, or a very cold winter day. Of course, you’ll have to do without fresh peas if it’s winter, but that doesn’t take away one ounce of the magic healing powers of this dish.
Oh, and a quick note on one of the ingredients – chourico is a cured pork and garlic sausage commonly used in Portuguese cooking. It should be fairly easy to find in any Portuguese neighbourhood, though you may have better luck finding Spanish-style chorizo instead. There’s no problem using chrorizo for this dish, since the two are totally interchangeable (though saying so may run the risk of being dragged from my house by the Portuguese Food Police and bludgeoned with a salted cod) Just don’t use Italian sausage… it’s not even close to the same thing.
Portuguese-Style Braised Peas with Eggs
1 chourico sausage, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large plum tomatoes, diced
2 cups fresh (or frozen) peas
1 tsp hot paprika
salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, fry sausage for 5 minutes or until slightly browned. Add olive oil, onion and garlic. Saute for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion is soft and translucent. Stir in tomatoes, peas, paprika and a generous amount of both salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until peas are almost cooked through and sauce has slightly thickened.
Use a spoon to create four hollows in the pea mixture. Break an egg into each hollow. Cover skillet; simmer mixture until eggs are cooked as desired (7 minutes should be enough for a soft, runny yolk; 10 minutes for a hard, crumbly yolk).
Spoon pea mixture over thick slices of fresh bread, or toasted English muffin halves, topping off each serving with an egg (or two if you’re serving two very hungry people).