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Posted on Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 8 a.m.

Poached eggs with spinach and hash browns is simple comfort food perfect for Groundhog's Day

By Mary Bilyeu


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

It's Groundhog Day, but don't worry — I'm not Andrew Zimmern, and I'm not roasting any rodents!

Instead, I'm inspired by two sources for today's simple but comforting recipe that would be great for a breakfast, light lunch or supper.

For starters, we must honor Punxsutawney Phil, whether he sees his shadow or not.  According to Animal Planet, "groundhogs go wild for succulent green plants."  Well, spinach is one of the most vividly green vegetables there is, with many nutrients and fabulous flavor no matter how it's served.

And then, of course, there's the Bill Murray movie "Groundhog Day," in which the main character lives the same day over and over again until he has learned some necessary lessons.  He is redeemed as he purges himself of his narcissism, realizing that others have needs and learning to contribute to — rather than only take from — the universe.

How this character and his repetitive, self-absorbed existence relate to poached eggs, spinach and hash browns is an inside joke which I'm not going to explain; but trust me — today is the day to serve this dish.

These items combine to make a really delicious meal that is a testament to the beauty of what can be accomplished with just a few simple ingredients, as long as they're well chosen. There's no need for rich sauces, cheese, bacon or other accoutrements; this is perfect just as it is.

Poached Eggs with Spinach and Hash Browns

Hash Browns:
4 tablespoons light olive oil
2 cups frozen shredded potatoes
generous pinch of sea salt

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the potatoes and press down to make a flat layer. Cook for 5 minutes, carefully flip the potatoes (it's okay to flip them in sections then press them back together), then cook for another 5 minutes until both sides are golden.

3 cups water
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 large eggs

Bring the water and the vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan, then turn the heat down to simmer.  Break each egg into a 1/4-cup measuring cup, and carefully slide the eggs into the water.  Cook the eggs for 5 minutes.

2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 cups baby spinach leaves
pinches of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the spinach, salt and pepper; cook just until the spinach is wilted.

To serve:  Place half of the hash browns onto each of two serving plates.  Top with the spinach, then carefully use a large spoon to scoop out the eggs and place them on top of the spinach.
Serve with fruit and with rye toast, if desired.

Serves 2.

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Mary Bilyeu writes about her adventures in the kitchen - making dinner, celebrating holidays, entering cooking contests ... whatever strikes her fancy. She is also on a mission to find great deals for her Frugal Floozie Friday posts, seeking fabulous food at restaurants on the limited budget of only $5 per person. Feel free to email her with questions or comments or suggestions:

You should also visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — on which she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related.

The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers - when you come to visit here, may you always be happy.



Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 11:20 p.m.

Are you sure you poach the egg for 5 minutes? From the picture the yolk is not set, my guess experience has been 2 minutes.

Mary Bilyeu

Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

I set a timer for 5 minutes, prepared to take the egg out earlier if it seemed done sooner; I ended up letting it cook for the full time before it looked ready. But my timer may be a teeny bit off, or someone might have an electric stove which would take longer to lower the temperature than a gas one where the flame goes down immediately ... there are variables. Starting with 2 minutes is a good plan, but be prepared to have the egg cook longer if it isn't looking like you'd want to eat it yet.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

What is the cider vinegar for with the eggs?


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

Thanks! That makes a lot more sense. I'm looking forward to trying this. The picture looks so yummy!

Mary Bilyeu

Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

Oh, thank you for noticing that! I'm so sorry! The water and the vinegar get boiled together in the saucepan. Oy! I'll go fix it right now ....


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

I'm just unsure how to use it. You never specify in the directions, but just list it in the ingredients and I've never actually poached eggs before.

Mary Bilyeu

Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

Good morning! The cider vinegar helps the eggs to keep their shape a bit more, rather than just dancing through the water and trailing along ....