Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dinosaur Eggs

These are a take on pickled beet eggs, prepared in pickled beet juice so they come out a bright color, but prepared in the manner of 1000 year old eggs. Pickled beet eggs are made by placing peeled hard boiled eggs in a beet pickling mixture. 1000 year eggs (which aren't really 1000 years old!) are made by placing unpeeled hard boiled eggs which have their shells cracked in a coloring mixture, usually tea. These "dinosaur" eggs are unpeeled, cracked, then placed in red beet juice until they take on a crazy quilt bright color. The photo below shows the difference between the finished eggs. The dark red ones are pickled beet eggs, and the ones with the variegated color are the dinosaur eggs.


1 bunch fresh beets, about 4 to 6
2 cups water
6 eggs
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
6 cloves


Hard boil eggs by placing eggs in a saucepan and covering with cold water. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain eggs.

Cut off beet greens, if attached, and save for another use. Cut off the root end of the beets, then scrub the beets well. Place beets in 2 cups water and boil for about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the beets, until the beets are tender and can easily be pierced with a fork. When done, remove the beets from the water, saving the water. When the beets have cooled enough to handle, you can easily slip the skins from the beets. Slice the cooked and peeled beets.
Heat the vinegar and sugar together in a microwave safe container until the sugar is dissolved. Add the vinegar sugar mixture, along with the cinnamon stick and cloves, to the beet cooking juice and stir to combine.

Using the back of a spoon, crack the hard boiled eggs all over their shells. You'll be making the pattern that will be seen on the finished eggs. Alternatively, you can shell some of the eggs to get a deeper purple color. Place the cracked or peeled hard boiled eggs into a container, then add the cooked beets, and cover them with the beet juice mixture. Cover the container and refrigerate overnight or for 24 hours.

Carefully lift the hard boiled eggs out of the beet juice. I say carefully because beet juice stains! Peel the eggs. Serve the beets as is as "dinosaur" eggs for breakfast, use them to make deviled eggs, or top a salad with the sliced eggs. The dinosaur eggs have a nice pattern, and have a faint sweet pickle taste. If you make straight pickled eggs, they'll have a deeper color, and will taste stronger. Pickled eggs are also great with a sprinkle of salt and a cold beer!

Serves 6

Stealthy Cooking Tip:  A nice by-product are the pickled beets. If you haven't had home made pickled beets, you're in for a real treat! People who don't usually like beets may change their mind when they taste these.

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