Jeanine, DD and I have been talking for sometime about planning the big birthday trip - for Jeanine’s 40th and DD’s 30th - coming up in April next year. So we got together last Sunday to talk and plan. Jeanine’s family is from Grenada, and have 2 beautiful properties on the islands. We sent out emails, we searched for other accommodations, we looked for tips on what to see and what to do. All the internet surfing was hard work, so we needed some sustenance.
I made brunch, not a very common occurance in our household; usually it’s DD or I throwing together bits and pieces of whatever we have - a fried rice topped with egg; a korean seafood pajeon (pancake) with crab, kimchee and green onion; sometimes a simple scramble with various bits and pieces...
I drew inspiration from this beautiful post on Eggs en Cocotte. I didn’t have the cute ramekins, and was not about to spend the $20 each to obtain them. But I had other receptacles, inherited from Justin and Stephanie before they left on their trip around the world...
So I sauteed up some Fatted Calf bacon (yes that bacon), cutting the beautiful slab into neat little batons. While the bacon was rendering and becoming crisp, I parboiled some diced potatoes (small dice - larger than a brunoise) in some water. After the fat had rendered from the bacon, I drained the crispy bits and poured off most of the liquid fat from the pan, saving a little to begin sauteeing the chopped leeks.
To tell the truth I ended up putting back most of the rendered bacon fat into the leek sautee (there were a lot of leeks - 2 thick stalks' worth), and then added in the potatoes, and finally, the bacon. I kept the hash on the heat until the vegetables began to caramelise nicely.
Eggs with Leek and Potato Hash
- About 1-inch of whole slab bacon, cut into batons
- 2 fat leeks, white parts sliced into rounds (discard tough green leaves or use for stock) and rinsed well
- 1-2 potatoes, cut into small 1/4-inch cubes
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme (1/2 tsp), or about 1/8 tsp dried thyme, or to your taste
- 5 eggs
- Heavy cream
- Unsalted butter
- Salt, pepper
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Put the chopped potatoes with a little water (enough to cover the bottom but not the tops of potatoes) into a small saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes. Drain potatoes from any remaining water.
Sautee the bacon batons in a large pan (preferably nonstick), until crisp; rendering the fat. Pour off most of the fat from the pan, reserve.
Add the leek rounds to the remaining bacon fat, sautee for a few minutes until soft, adding some of the reserved bacon fat if desired. Add in the thyme and potatoes and stir to mix. Leave in the pan for a couple of minutes undisturbed to help caramelisation. When you see beautiful brown bits forming on the leeks and potatoes, add in the bacon; stir. When the hash is to your liking (taste and add salt and pepper), remove from heat.
I used two 1/2-quart mini oval gratin dishes and one 4.5-oz. white ramekin for the hash. The grain dishes got 2 eggs each; the ramekin only one. Dot the bottom of the dish/ ramekin with small pats of butter. Add in the hash. Create a small indentation in the hash and break an egg over that indentation so that the yolk can nestle snugly into the well. If you don't make this indentation, the yolk will slide to the edge of the pan and will eventually get overcooked. I made the mistake with the first dish - see photo above - it's the one in the lower right corner. The other dish with eggs fared better, but one yolk was at a higher elevation than the other and also got overcooked. Pour over 3-4 Tablespoons of cream over the eggs and hash. Reginald's recipe also calls for dotting the hash and egg whites with bits of butter; I omitted this step.
Place your egg dishes into the oven and cook from 15-30 minutes - your mileage may vary depending on your oven. I initially set the timer for 15 minutes, but the egg whites were still translucent and runny after that time. Obviously, the goal is to reach that beautiful medium where the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny... perhaps I should have dotted with butter as the original recipe directed.
And... because we needed something sweet, I also made Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes, using a recipe from Elise's always wonderful Simply Recipes.