Pretty Pickled Eggs and Beets

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This is the second time I’ve made these. The first dozen, a few months ago, came out so well and so prettily that I couldn’t wait to make them again. But since we have the problem of hardboiled fresh eggs being terrible to peel, I had to wait until our next dozen eggs had aged a few weeks first (and even then, these were somewhat challenging to peel).

I based the recipe off of Emeril Lagasse’s but doubled it, reduced the sugar slightly, and added quite a lot more pickling spice than he suggested.

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  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 large bunch of beets
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 heaping tablespoons pickling spice
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

Cut off the beet greens (we had them for supper in a sausage bean soup) and scrub the beets clean. Wrap in tin foil and bake at 350º for an hour and a half.

While that is happening, hard-boil the eggs however you like. For me, I start with the eggs in a pot with cool water, then bring them to a boil over medium-high heat, boil for 6 minutes, then put into ice water until cool. Also during this time, put the vinegar, sugar, pickling spices, and peppercorns in a small pot and boil until the sugar is dissolved.

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Peel the eggs and put into a large mixing bowl. When the beets are done and cool, peel them as well. Peeling beets is always fun.

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Slice the beets and put them in the bowl with the peeled eggs. Add the sliced onions.

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Pour the vinegar and spices over everything.

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Transfer to a sealable container, with the eggs arranged such that they are all submerged. Store overnight. The next day, gently move things around so any eggs that were pressed against the side of the container get more exposure to the liquid.

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The afternoon of that day, they are ready for eating. The longer you keep them in the liquid, the stronger they will taste. I imagine they should be eaten within a week, since the preservative pickling action doesn’t really penetrate to the center of the egg. They look prettiest when sliced thinly and fanned on a plate with a side of beets and onions (which are also quite tasty).

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How I Make Tea Eggs

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I love tea eggs. They’re a great way to make hard-boiled eggs flavorful and interesting. They’re also very easy to make, though they do take some time. I like to make them when I can be home all day to let them simmer for hours, filling the house with the smell of Chinese 5 Spice. There are tons of slightly different recipes on the web (the most common variants use soy sauce and star anise), but I like this one.

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2 black tea bags
  • 2 tablespoons chinese 5 spice powder (cinnamon, star anise, anise seed, ginger, cloves)
  • 2-3 tablespoons salt
  • teaeggs_ingredients

    The first step, if you have farm-fresh eggs, is to set them aside in the back of the fridge for 2-3 weeks. This is because hard-boiled farm-fresh eggs are an absolute nightmare to peel (the membrane between the shell and the white is very tenacious). If you get eggs from the store, they are probably fine to cook right away.

    Then, boil the eggs however you like to make hard-boiled eggs. For me, I cover the eggs with cold water, bring them to a boil over medium heat, and boil for 5 minutes or so.

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    Remove eggs with tongs and let them cool in a colander until they are comfortable to touch. Carefully crack them all over as if you were going to peel them, but leave the shell on. Try not to damage the egg underneath with over-exhuberant cracking.

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    Put a couple of inches of fresh water in the pot along with the black tea bags, chinese 5 spice powder, and salt. The powder will float on the surface of the water, so I whisk it in.

    Gently put the eggs back into the water and bring it to a simmer. The water level should be slightly higher than the eggs; add more if necessary. Cover and simmer for 3+ hours, checking every now and then to make sure the water is still high enough.

    Remove the eggs with tongs and let them cool. You can either peel all of them or store them as-is and peel before eating. If you find they are too salty for your liking, a quick rinse under the tap can temper it somewhat.

    They should be stored in the fridge and probably eaten within a week.

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