Wednesday 27 May 2015

My Sunday Brunch - Eggs in Pots (oeufs en cocotte)

I think Sundays has to be the ultimate lazy day! I love Sundays, especially when I have nothing better to do than lie around knowing that I don't have somewhere to be, or something to do, which only means one thing...spending time doing what I love the most - cooking.

Brunch is one of those times when you can afford to take a little bit of extra time to cook yourself something really've missed breakfast (or maybe you haven't and you're just greedy) so you want to make it extra worthwhile and combine lunch as well!! I have been doing many versions of eggs in pots, or as the french call it 'oeufs en cocotte' for quite a few years now and there are so many ideas out there. For example one of my favourite chefs Rachel Khoo makes hers with crème fraîche, whereas TV chef John Whaite combines his eggs with cream or milk. 
I decided to go for a much more indulgent combination, and what's more indulgent than a cheesy white sauce eh?! And sticking with the brunch theme I've gone with some crispy bacon bits too!! Try serving these cute little pots with lots of crusty bread so you can get your soldiers lined up at the ready for some serious dunking action.

If you wanted to be quick and you absolutely must then go for a couple of tablespoons of  crème fraîche but at least use full fat (none of that light stuff)! Add whatever is in your fridge really, smoked salmon would be another lovely accompaniment instead of bacon, bits of ham or even leftover cooked sausage from last night's supper...but let's not joke around here - in my house there's usually never 'leftover' anything so don't forget unless it's already cooked you need to fry it off first like I did with the bacon. 
This recipe makes enough for 2 servings (i.e 2 teacups) but it's all quite unpredictable when it comes to the amount of sauce you'll need depending on how big your pots are, if you're using ramekins instead - they tend to be smaller and the size of your eggs will vary this too (I used medium sized eggs but my teacups are quite big). If you're making it for more people, just adjust the quantities of the white sauce and the rule is one egg per pot, per person. 
I'm not taking any responsibility for broken up bits of your prized china so before you start if you are using tea cups, PLEASE make sure that they are oven proof!!

Eggs in Pots


Makes 2

20g butter plus extra for frying the bacon
1 ½ heaped tbsps plain flour
275ml / ½ pint milk
70g cheddar cheese or any other strong hard cheese
2 rashers of bacon
2 eggs
a pinch of paprika
handful of fresh chopped chives
black pepper and salt


Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F / gas 4. Grate the cheese. Slice the bacon into small pieces and then melt a small knob of butter in a frying pan and fry the bacon until just cooked and then put to one side. Gently heat the milk either in a separate pan on the stove or in the microwave until lukewarm. 
To make the white sauce, melt the butter in another saucepan over a medium heat and then quickly add the flour all in one go and stir with a wooden spoon to make your roux which is a smooth thick paste, cook for 1 minute and keep stirring. In little additions pour in the warm milk and stir quickly with a whisk, keep adding the milk until you get a thick sauce, you might not need to add all of the milk. 
Next add  ¾ of the grated cheese to the sauce, keep the sauce on the heat while you stir until all the cheese is melted and then set aside. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the cheese sauce into your pots along with a little bit of the bacon shared equally between the 2. Crack an egg into each pot and then repeat the process with more bacon and sauce until you have used it all. (But leave out some of the sauce if there is too much - you don't want to overfill it!) Sprinkle over the leftover grated cheese along with a pinch of salt, pepper and paprika, finally scatter over the chopped chives as a garnish. 
Place your pots in a baking dish and pour enough lukewarm water into the dish to come halfway up the sides of the pots. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the egg yolks are to your liking. 

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