Friday, April 6, 2012

Beet Pickled Eggs

A couple of weeks ago I read about pickled eggs in Laurie Colwin's book, More Home Cooking. Pickled eggs are peeled hard boiled eggs that are placed in a pickling brine for a number of days or weeks. These sounded so good, I thought I would see if I could find a few recipes. That's when I came across beet pickled eggs. Pickling the beets along with the eggs naturally dyes the eggs a brilliant fuchsia. I'm a huge fan of beets, so combing them with eggs made the world I live in a much happier place. The best part is, you don't need any prior experience or knowledge of pickling to make these, just a large jar and a bit of patience. As I looked more into it, I learned that beet pickled eggs originated in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Since this was all new to me, I was eager to give them a try. 

These eggs are really wonderful. They will make a stunning presentation as is, or incorporated into an Easter or spring inspired salad, or for deviled eggs. The longer you pickle the eggs, the more brine and color they absorb. After a few days they became striking little beauties, especially when cut in half to expose more color and their vibrant yellow yolks.

Adapted from Simply Recipes 

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1 large beet, peeled and cut into 1-inch sized pieces
1 cup beet juice
1 cup cider vinegar
1 large shallot or small yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/3 cup granulated sugar
5 cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
1 star anise pod
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled
A large jar with a lid (a ¾ liter jar fits the eggs perfectly- about 25 oz.)

Start by hard-boiling the eggs. Place the eggs in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with 2-inches of cold water. Bring just to a boil, cover, and remove from heat. Let sit for 12 minutes before submerging in a bowl of ice water. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan, then reduce to a simmer. Add the chopped beet, cover with the lid slightly ajar, and continue to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the beets. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a medium saucepan, combine the beet juice (if you're left with less than a cup of beet juice after simmering, simply add enough water so that it equals 1 cup), vinegar, shallot, garlic, sugar, and spices. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes or until all the sugar has dissolved and the onions are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Once the brine has cooled, place 3 eggs in the jar. Spoon in some of the onions and beets. Add the remaining eggs and spoon in the rest of the onions and beets. Pour in all of the brine. Tightly seal the jar and place in the refrigerator. Allow the eggs to pickle for 5 to 7 days to reach their optimal color. Keep refrigerated and use with 1 month.

Yield: 6 pickled eggs, 1 pickled beet

  • Avoid using a fork to remove the eggs from the brine. Piercing them could cause the brine to bleed into the yolks and ruin their beautiful presentation. Use your fingers or a spoon instead.