Using a pressure cooker to hard boil young hen eggs

HARD BOILING YOUNG HEN EGGS

Hard-boiled fresh eggs can be hard to peel but eggs laid by young hens are almost impossible. This year I had to replace my entire flock. It was especially frustrating to discover that even when the fresh, young hen eggs were left for 7 rather than the normal 3 days before hard-boiling, they were still impossible to peel.

An egg has an inner and outer shell membrane. Since the egg shell is permeable, as the egg ages, carbon dioxide and moisture are lost through the shell. This causes the two membranes to separate and the air sac to expand. As a result, the older the egg is, the easier it is to peel. 

My normal method of hard boiling eggs was to place them in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. The cooking time depends on egg size. I wanted a quick method that would ensure that relatively fresh eggs could be hard boiled and easily peeled. My Internet search lead me to the prairie homestead page. Although they were not talking about the problems of hard-boiling young hen eggs, they did mention the idea of using a pressure cooker. I am a huge fan of pressure cookers and believe that no kitchen should be without one. I have a number of different sized cookers and use them all the time to make soups, stews, casseroles and other dishes in a fraction of the time. They can even be used to can tomatoes and other vegetables.

 

For the experiment, I chose four eggs that had been laid on consecutive days. The egg on the right labelled 1 day old was laid on the same day, the 2-day old one the day before, etc.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Put 1 cup (250ml) of water in a pressure cooker and bring it to the boil.

Place the eggs on a steamer and lower it into the pan.

Close the pressure cooker lid and bring it up to full power. Turn down the heat and leave it for 5 minutes.

At the end of the cooking time, if your pressure cooker has a quick release mechanism, quickly release the pressure by placing the pan under the running cold tap. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of cold water, running and change the water until the eggs are completely cool.

RESULTS:

I then peeled the eggs and these are shown in the photo below. The results are conclusive and show how the eggs are easy to peel, and even the freshest egg could be peeled with care.

 

Vegetable stirfry and egg-fried rice

Vegetable stirfry and egg-fried rice

vegetable stirfryThis stirfry is quick and easy and a tasty vegetable/vegetarian meal.

INGREDIENTS:
1/3 cup rice per person, cooked, washed and cooled
1 egg per person, beaten
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garli, finely chopped
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 courgette, thinly sliced
mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 handfuls peanuts
peanut oil
sesame oil
soy sauce
salt and pepper

METHOD:
Heat some oil in a large frying pan or wok and gently fry the onion untl soft. Add the garlic and fry for anothe rminute or so. Transfer about a third of the onion/garlic mixture to another frying pan/wok for the rice.

Add the vegetables to the stirfry pan and quickly for another couple of minutes before adding the ginger and curry powder. Stir well and then add some soy sauce. Add the minutes last, stir well and then leave on a low heat while you cook the rice.

Add some oil to the rice pan and heat the rice through. You can either make a well in the middle and add the eggs, stirring well so that all the grains are coated and stirfrying until the eggs are cooked, or you can push the rice to one side of the pan and then fry the eggs in he space until they are cooked, chopping them up before combining (it’s a question of whether you prefer to see bits of egg or not). Add the peanuts and a splash of soy sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Serve the stirfried vegetables and the egg-fried rice together.

stirfry2

Scrambled eggs with garlic sprouts and oyster mushrooms

huevos2

This is the perfect recipe to make now that the young garlic sprouts are in season but can be made at any time substituting spring onions at other times of the year.

INGREDIENTS:
2 eggs per person, beaten
garlic sprouts, chopped
250g oyster mushrooms, cut into strips
olive oil
butter
salt and pepper

METHOD:
Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan or wok and fry the garlic sprouts until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms, cover and turn down the heat and continue to fry until they are soft and most of the juice has evaporated.

Add a knob of butter to the pan and pour over the eggs. Stir with a spatula until the eggs are cooked.

Serve with rosti potatoes or fried jacket potatoes.

huevos1

 

 

Spinach and ricotta omelette

spinach ricotta omelette

This was supposed to be a frittata made in a frying pan but as I had left out the milk it turned out to be an omelete. It was, however, a success and I will definitely be making it again.

INGREDIENTS:
1 medium salad onion, quartered and thinly sliced
4 cloves or garlic, roughly chopped
100g spinach leaves per person
50g ricotta cheese per person
2 eggs per person, beaten
salt and pepper
olive oil

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and then gently soften the onion. Add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes. Add the spinach leaves and stir-fry quickly until they have wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour over the beaten eggs and stir well. Put small dollops of ricotta over the surface.

Turn up the heat for a minute and then turn down and cover for two minutes.

You can finish off cooking this under a hot grill. As we don’t have a grill, I made sure the edges hadn’t stuck to the frying pan and then flipped the omelette using a large saucepan lid.

Once back in the pan, I turned up the heat for a couple of minutes and then down again until the omelette was cooked through.

spinachomelette2

Creamy egg curry

creamy egg curryINGREDIENTS:
hardboiled eggs (1 or 2 per person)
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
5 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup vegetable stock
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 pot natural yoghurt
100ml whipping cream
salt and pepper
mustard oil

Heat the oil in a frying pan on a fairly high flame. Add the onion and fry until they start to go brown at the edges.

Add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes.

Add all the spices except the garam masala and fry for a couple of seconds.

Gradually add the yoghurt, stirring well before adding the tomatoes. Continue cooking and mash the tomatoes into the sauce with the back of the spoon. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes. This part of the recipe can be done in advance.

When you are ready to eat, heat it through, add the cream and garam masala and then arrange the eggs on top.

Huevos rancheros recipe

Huevos rancheros recipe

huevos ranchros recipe

Huevos rancheros

This huevos rancheros recipe is quick and easy to make. It uses pinto beans, red peppers and spices and the eggs are cracked into the pot to cook just before serving. For more recipe ideas for Mexican food, see Thomasina Miers’ book Mexican Food Made Simple.

INGREDIENTS:
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
400g pinto beans or white beans
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon tomato purée
400g chopped tomatoes
200ml vegetable stock
4 eggs
tortillas

METHOD:
Heat some oil in a casserole and fry the onion until soft. Add the red pepper and fry for a further couple of minutes before adding the garlic, chilli and spices. Fry for another minute or so to release all the flavours.

Pour in the chopped tomatoes, beans, tomato purée, stock and bring to the boil. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes or so until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Cut the flour tortillas into wedges and fry in a frying pan with a smidgeon of oil until crispy.

Make 4 wells in the mixture and crack an egg into each one. Cover and cook for a further 3-5 minutes until the eggs have set.

Serve with the tortillas.

huevos ranchros recipe

Huevos rancheros

 

Alioli and Mayonnaise: stick blender method

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise

For some time now, I have been wanting to learn how to make mayonnaise with a stick blender. So far I had had no success as the egg yolk never seemed to reach the blade, it took for ages to drip in the oil and then the mixture would split resulting in a great deal of frustration and wasting a lot of eggs.

About a week ago, however, I saw a video on Internet and it couldn’t be simpler. The trick is to add all the ingredients together at the beginning. Allow time for the oil to float to the top. You then fully submerge the head of the blender and blend for about a minute before lifting it up very slowly as you continue to blend. The secret is not to panic and even if bubbles rise to the surface that look as though they have split, continue blending the bottom part of the container until you are sure that it has started to set.

Here is a video on YouTube of me making mayonnaise with this method:

Here are the two recipes: the first for lighter mayonnaise and second for a thicker garlic alioli.

ALIOLI
INGREDIENTS:
1 extra large egg yolk or 2 medium eggs yolks.
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of water
250ml sunflower oil
salt

MAYONNAISE
INGREDIENTS:
1 extra large egg or 2 medium eggs
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
250ml sunflower oil
milk
salt

METHOD FOR BOTH RECIPES

Using the plastic beaker that comes with the stick blender, add the egg or egg yolk and then all the other ingredients and finally the oil. It is important not to add the oil too violently. Allow a couple of minutes for the oil to float to the surface.

Gently lower the stick blender to the bottom of the beaker. Blend on the fastest setting for about a minute. Carefully lift up one side of the blender head to allow small amounts of oil to reach the blade and then slowly lift the blender upwards towards the top of the beaker.

Mix thoroughly and thin with either more oil or milk or yoghurt as preferred. Sometimes it’s nice to add a splash of good quality virgin olive oil to taste. Check for seasoning and serve.
mayonnaise2

Tortilla de patatas con ajetes – Spanish potato omelette with garlic sprouts

Tortilla de patatas con ajetes

Tortilla de patatas con ajetes

Now’s the season for “ajetes” (garlic sprouts) so there will be plenty of opportunities to try out different recipes. This one is a combination of a traditional Spanish omelette and the garlic. This is a large tortilla and makes enough for 6-8 people.

Ajetes - Wild garlic

Ajetes – garlic sprouts

INGREDIENTS:
1200g potatoes, finely sliced
7 eggs
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 handful garlic sprouts, cut into pieces

METHOD:
Finely slice the potatoes and wash in cold water.

Heat some olive oil in a deep-sided frying pan and add the potatoes. Mix well so that they are thoroughly coated in the oil and begin frying on a high heat. Fry for 10-15 minutes, turning every 5 or so minutes. After you’ve turned the potatoes, turn the heat up for a minute or so and then cover and turn the heat down for another couple of minutes so that the potatoes get a bit of colour and cook in the steam at the same time.

Sprinkle over the chopped onion and garlic and continue cooking until everything is cooked.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a bowl and season with salt. Add a splash of milk.

Spoon into the eggs and mix well.

Find a frying pan that will fit a flat plate or flat saucepan lid. I have a large lid for the pan for making cheese and this works really well with the largest frying pan I have. I’ve found that the easiest way to flip the omelette is by using a saucepan lid. That way, you can use the handle to help you. To flip the omelette, you need to be confident and it’s best done over the sink – confidently and quickly are key.

Heat some oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot, quickly pour in the egg and potato mixture. Set the timer for 1 minute and cook on a high heat. Turn down the heat, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Flip the tortilla. Turn the heat up and cook again for 1 minute on high before covering and turning down the heat for 2 minutes. Check the tortilla is cooked in the middle and serve.