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

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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.

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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.