Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pickled Eggs - A Redneck Delight?

I might as well confess right now - I am a redneck. So is my whole family. And to prove it, I'm going to post a recipe for making pickled eggs. Now if you've never tried pickled eggs, chances are you've also never been in a small town saloon in the Outback of Nebraska, where you'll find a jar nestled alongside the rolls of chewing tobacco in the beer coolers.

To make your very own pickled eggs, you'll need the following ingredients: A gallon glass jar, 1 qt of white vinegar, 2 16-oz. jars of Jalapenos, eggs (three dozen large or four dozen medium), one onion (I use sweet Vidalia), 6 cloves of garlic, 10 dashes Tabasco sauce, and 1 T each black peppercorns, whole mustard seed, whole dill seed, and crushed red pepper. That's it - so far, so good! First you need to boil the eggs. Since I'm fortunate enough to have access to farm-fresh eggs from Seifer Farms, I have to make sure that there are some around old enough to boil properly. Use too fresh of eggs and you'll never get them peeled! If you use store-bought eggs, you should be just find (heaven knows how old those are!). Be sure to add plenty of salt so they peel easily.

To boil the eggs, place them in cold water, then heat on medium to high heat until boiling rapidly. Cover, turn the heat off and let stand about a half hour. The eggs will be thoroughly cooked. Meanwhile, get the brine ready by placing all ingredients into a saucepan. Slice the onion and peel the garlic cloves by whapping each one with the flat of your knife (please don't cut yourself). Hit them firmly, and the outer shell will peel off easily. Bring this to a boil and let it boil for 15 minutes. By now, you will be shedding tears of joy for the delicious, nutritious snack that you're going to have in your refigerator for your hungry hordes. Either that, or it is just the fumes from the hot sauce, pickled jalapeno juice and vinegar boiling on the stove! While that is boiling merrily away, you can now peel the eggs. If you've done the job right, the shells should come off nearly whole.
Place a couple spoon fulls of the pickling brine in the bottom of your jar, followed by a dozen eggs, then repeat until your jar is full. Squash as much of the mixture in as you can, but don't worry if it doesn't all fit in - just make sure to get all the eggs in.
Finally, seal the jar tightly and place in the refrigerator for one week. The eggs will be nicely pickled and deliciously spicy after a week, and the flavor only gets better the longer they last.
Of course, the jar doesn't last very long at the Nebraska Outback household, because they truly do make great snacks, which are filling, nutritious and delicious. We have two gallon jars, and pickle a second gallon when the first gallon is about half gone.

So, the entire recipe is:
3 dozen large eggs or 4 dozen medium eggs
1 large onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic
1 qt. white vinegar
2 16-oz jars pickled jalapeno peppers
10 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 T each black peppercorns, whole mustard seed, whole dill seed, crushed red pepper.

Boil the eggs in heavily salted water; peel and set aside. Combine all other ingredients in saucepan. Boil for 15 minutes.

Layer brine mixture and a dozen eggs in one gallon jar, repeating until full. Seal and refrigerate for seven days.

And there you have it, pickled eggs! Now, I'm no great hand at preserving food. I seem to have blocked out that part of my childhood, when we raised a huge garden and preserved everything to eat through the winter. So, if I can do this, you can too!

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

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