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I’m on a bit of a runny egg kick. Blame it on the weather (we got snow in NYC this last week thanks to my first Nor’easter since moving back up to the frozen North), but I want runny yolks and the silky body they bring to otherwise humble ingredients. The main portion of this dish was initially supposed to be a more runny tomato ragu, but since I inexplicably fail at making any form of marinara, it turned out more substantial – almost like a stew, but not quite as wet. This is a main that needs no starch for backbone – it gets along just fine without. Gluten-free & paleo-friendly.

Caramelized Vegetable & Tomato Ragu with Sausage & Egg

1 head fennel, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
Coconut oil
White wine
4 links Italian sausage
1 red pepper, sliced
1 head collards, big vein removed and ribboned
28 oz. can San Marizano peeled tomatoes
1 palmful red pepper flakes
2 eggs per person

Add all your chopped veggies to a enamel dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot set over medium heat with a bit of coconut oil in the bottom. Sautee, stirring often to avoid burning and deglazing the pan with white wine if things are getting too sticky, until the whole mess is nicely browned and cooked way down. The finer you chop the veg, the quicker the cooking will go – I like roughly 1/2 inch pieces or a little under. I’m not 100% sure how long my veggies took to cook, but it was awhile. Maybe half an hour? 45 minutes? You’re looking for a color here, not a time. Everything should look deeply caramelized, and kind of melted together. Not burnt, but nice and brown and cozy.

While all that is happening, get your additions going. Slip your sausage links out of their casings and sautee in a large pan, breaking it up as you go. Remove to a towel to drain. Add the pepper and collards to the sausage fat and sautee until softened, about 10 mins. Taste everything for salt at this point and add if needed.

When your veggies are cooked down to your liking, add the sausage, collards, and pepper to the pot. Open your can of tomatoes and crush each one into the pot. Alternately, you can crush these separately with a potato masher, but where’s the fun int that? Add the liquid from the can along with the red pepper flakes, pop the lid on, lower the heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

To serve, spoon into a bowl and top with two fried eggs.

Serves 2 for dinner + 2 lunches