With the holidays approaching (along with various pot lucks and parties connected to said winter festivities) I was on a quest to find something that was:
1. Inexpensive to make
2. Not too many Ingredients (better to serve to avoid a lot of food allergies and diets)
3. Easy to serve
4. Bite-Sized Finger foods
5. Doesn’t need to be served hot
My attention fell to the egg. It fit the bill for most of my targets and concerns. But I wanted to jazz them up a bit. Deviled eggs are fairly popular dish in general at pot lucks, but how period are they? Were there other items that might be yummy, yet easy to make with hard boiled eggs?
I came across a number of period stuffed egg recipes. Not all fit what I was looking for, but a few did. I may do a few more tests and redactions for various stuffed eggs in future postings.
The first one I just did was Eggs Farced, which is from Le Cuisinier François by La Varenne. The book was published in 1653, however, he lived 1615-1678, so this should be is a safe book to use for late period French cuisine. This particular recipe has an earlier version in an earlier source. I had actually found a redaction from someone else that I used as a guide of sorts. Their recipe is first, and then I will share what I ended up doing for Queen’s Champion Archery 2013 in Altavia (11/23).
Original Redaction from Anne-Marie Rousseau:
1. Eggs farced [la Varenne #1 p294]
Take sorrel, alone if you will, or with other herbs, wash and swing them, then mince them very small, and put between two dishes with fresh butter, or passe them in the panne; after they are passed, soak and season them; after your farce is sod, take some hard eggs, cut them into halfs, a crosse, or in length, and take out the yolks, and mince them with your farce, and after all is well mixed, stew them over the fire, and put to it a little nutmeg, and serve garnished with the whites of your eggs which you may make brown in the pan with brown butter.
2 tbs butter
1 tbs dill, minced
6 hardboiled eggs
2 green onions, minced
1 pinch salt
1 tsp fresh savory, minced
1 tsp fresh sorrel, minced
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
Cut eggs in half longwise, and remove yolk. Sautee savory, sorrel, green onion and dill in 1 T of the butter. Add the vinegar, salt, nutmeg and rest of the butter. Mix the egg yolks with the sautéed herb stuff, and stir over low heat till smooth and thick. Fill the egg white halves and serve. If you wish, you may fry the egg white halves in brown butter before filling, but we found that this makes them rubbery.
Makes 12 filled egg halves, with some leftover stuffing goop.
My Redaction and notes:
So, I have no access to Sorrel and Savory, I couldn’t find. But Savory wasn’t mentioned in the original translation anyway. I ended up looking up replacements for Sorrell and Savory, just to see what these tasted like. Savory was suggested to be replaced with Sage or Thyme. Sorrell supposedly had a tart flavor, with a suggestion of lemon. I did have Sage and Thyme, and they were used in period. I decided to use both. I had no lemon (totally forgot it when I went shopping for various ingredients). I did, however, have pomegranates. I had seen those used in other recipes (and there are period drawings and paintings of the fruit) and it was in season. I had one handy and I thought the tart-sweet aspect would be nice along with the crunch from the seed.
3 tbs butter
1 tbs dill, minced
9 hardboiled eggs
3 green onions, minced
½ tsp salt
1 tsp dried ground Sage
1 tsp dried ground Thyme
¼ cup of fresh pomegranate juice
¼ cup of fresh pomegranate seeds
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
½ tsp nutmeg
Cut eggs in half longwise, and remove yolk. Smash up egg yolks as much as you can. Sautee sage, thyme, green onion (save about one of the chopped up green onions for garnish) and dill in 1 tablespoon of the butter until soft and combined. Add the vinegar, salt, half of the nutmeg and rest of the butter. Mix in egg yolks, pomegranates (save some for garnish), and juice with the sautéed herbs, and stir over low heat till smooth and thick. Fill the egg white halves with mixture, smoothing them gently in the whites to get them to stick, dust balance of nutmeg across and sprinkle reserved green onion and pomegranates across to garnish. Serve.
I didn’t brown the whites in butter, but you can if you like. I was trying to keep this recipe somewhat healthy and it was to be served cold, so I didn’t want that butter to affect the flavor if it was sorted before serving.
I had extra dill that I used as a garnish as well.
One thing I definitely did during the cooking process was taste the filling as I added ingredients. Depending on your taste and the consistency of your mixture, you may use more or less of the pomegranates. I didn’t add enough salt, but adjusted that to this recipe.
The flavor was well liked (as far as I was told). The pomegranate seed textures were hit and miss. Some people liked that and others, didn’t. You can always omit the seed if you don’t like them. I thought it not only was a nice flavor but it made the dish look very lovely with the pops of red-purple.