Friday, October 22, 2010

Chickens + Time = Eggs! (An Herb Baked Egg Recipe)

You may remember from this post that we adopted day-old chicks back in March, and lo and behold, a miracle happens when they hit 5 or 6 months old: they start laying eggs!  Being the good foodies that we are, we're diligently trying new recipes with our fresh little backyard prizes.  (In retrospect, "fresh little backyard prizes" sound more like poop than eggs, but I'm sticking to it.  Although we certainly get our fair share of those other prizes, too.)

Our Americauna, Violet, the brown one in the picture, lays lovely green eggs... when she's actually laying.  Currently, though, she's going through her first molt, which means no eggs, a growing mass of feathers all over the yard and an extremely scrubby looking chicken. She also happens to be much feistier than her sister, Lily, our Black Australorp.  Let me tell you, it is not fun trying to convince an angry, half-naked chicken that there are better things to peck at than your bare toes.  Because, come on, toes look delicious, don't they?  All pink and plump and wriggly.  How could she resist?

Lily's eggs are large, brown and gorgeous, as you can see from the top picture.  It's almost a shame to cook with them, though once I discovered this Herb Baked Egg recipe from Strawberry Creek Inn, I quickly got over it.  Justin and I made a fair amount of modifications to this recipe, as I'm not a big fan of mustard and neither of us cares much for nutmeg in savory dishes, but the basics are the same: you line a ramekin with a delicious breakfast meat, add a layer of cheese and top it off with eggs and herbs.  The result is so much better than I imagined - we seriously made this two days in a row.  The addition of yogurt to the beaten eggs is just pure, creamy, yummy genius.

Herb Baked Eggs
adapted from Inn Cuisine
(makes 2 servings)

4 slices uncooked turkey bacon
3 large eggs
1/4 cup plain lowfat yogurt
1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice (we used sharp cheddar and fresh parmesan)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs (we grow basil, oregano and chives in our yard, so we used those)

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.  Grease two oval gratin dishes with vegetable spray.
2. Arrange two slices of uncooked turkey bacon across the bottom of each dish.  Separate 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese and divide evenly between the two dishes, sprinkling directly on top of the turkey bacon.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, herbs and the remaining 1/4 cup cheese.  Pour this mixture into both gratin dishes, dividing evenly.
4. Bake in oven for 10-20 minutes, depending on how done you like your eggs.  I prefer the shorter end of the scale, when the eggs are set on the sides but a bit soft in the center.
As the wonderful blogger over at Inn Cuisine points out, this recipe is ripe for reinvention - you can sub in your choice of breakfast meats or veggies on the bottom layer, and suit the herbs and cheeses to your taste.  Consider yourself warned, though: this is a highly addictive recipe, one that will have you craving baked eggs every weekend, imaging their cheesy herbed goodness even as your eyes open in the morning.  And considering how completely easy this breakfast is, you'll probably be giving in to those cravings.


Sherezada said...

Looks delicious! It must feel awesome to be able to make breakfast with eggs from your own chickens and herbs from your own garden.

Dana said...

It's pretty satisfying, though most of all it's tasty. There's nothing like fresh eggs!

Zoe said...

Do you think that would work with uncooked "regular" bacon, or is the cook time not long enough?

Dana said...

That's a good question - this amount of time does cook the turkey bacon, but turkey bacon is already pre-cooked before it goes in the package. I would think that if you pre-baked pork bacon in the gratin dishes and THEN added the eggs, that would be safer than just putting it in raw. Ham would also be a good option, since it's pre-cooked, too.

Hillary said...

This sounds great - is there something else you could put the dish in, like a pie pan or square baking pan? Do you think it would just be a matter of adjusting cooking times? I don't have any gratin pans, sadly

Dana said...

My only thought for an alternate baking dish would be a little round ramekin - you'd just have to cut the bacon into pieces or something. I'm afraid of how it would turn out in something bigger, because that might be closer to a quiche or something, and I don't know what the baking times should be on that.

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