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Almost-Perfect Poached Eggs with Cheddar Biscuits

I have never been particularly successful making well-shaped poached eggs, but I recently discovered a different technique that really works. The procedure is a bit tiresome due to the number of steps involved, but you can prepare them ahead of time.

Fill a large deep pot with water and bring to a medium boil. Add 1 t. salt and 1 T. white vinegar.

Break each egg, one at a time, into a fine strainer and, holding it over the sink, allow the watery part of the white (which forms as the egg ages) to run through, leaving the thicker consistency of the white behind. This process almost completely eliminates the tendency for the white to swirl around the water, preventing the poached egg from forming an even oval.

Drop each egg into its own small custard cup or bowl.

Slowly lower eggs (no more than 4 at a time) into the boiling water. When done, remove each egg with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel to drain, then serve. If making ahead of time, remove eggs to paper towels just before they are cooked to your liking, then place on a plate, cover and keep chilled, then lower them into simmering water for 1 minute to reheat.

Cheddar, Bacon and Chive Biscuits (adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2010)

This is a large recipe and the biscuits freeze well. I thaw them in the microwave as needed, split and toast them. They are also very good drizzled with honey – I have been using lavender honey for these, since buying some at the Okanagan Lavender Farm in Kelowna.

6 slices bacon, chopped
3 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 T. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2” cubes
2 1/2 c. (packed) coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 12 oz.)
1/3 c. chopped fresh chives, optional
1 3/4 c. chilled buttermilk

Position rack just above centre of oven and preheat to 425°F. Line heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add butter cubes. Blend until coarse meal forms, about 30 seconds.Transfer flour mixture to large bowl. Add cheddar cheese, fresh chives, and chopped bacon; toss to blend.Gradually add buttermilk, stirring to moisten evenly (batter will feel sticky).

Roll out dough on floured surface and cut into rounds with a large cookie cutter. Place onto prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.

Bake biscuits until golden and tester inserted into centre comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Serve biscuits warm or at room temperature with honey, if desired.

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