Old-fashioned Creole Eggs

Creole Eggs and Toast

I recently found a hundred-year-old recipe for Creole Eggs, which are shirred (baked) eggs topped with tomato, green pepper, and onion. Shirred eggs are surprisingly easy to make. And, when topped with the tomato mixture, they are absolutely delightful.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Creole Eggs
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Recipes and Household Discoveries (1920)

I found this recipe confusing – though the eggs turned out well. It is an odd mixture of very specific directions – “2 tablespoonfuls green pepper”; “Garnish each dish with a tablespoonful of the tomato mixture.” And, very general directions – “one to two eggs per individual” with no clue how many individuals the recipe was supposed to serve. If only 1 tablespoon of the tomato mixture was put on top of the eggs in each ramekin, it seems like this recipe would make enough tomato mixture for a lot of eggs. In the end, I decided that another option would be to just make fewer servings and use more of the tomato mixture per serving (2+ tablespoons).

It also was not clear how big “two large tomatoes” were supposed to be – though the comment that 1/2 can of tomatoes (a 1 pound can?) could be substituted for the fresh tomatoes made me think that it was calling for about a cup of canned tomatoes. The statement that just the “solids” from a can of tomatoes were supposed to be used, also made me think that the recipe was calling for about 1/2 cup of canned tomatoes after they were strained. And, that if fresh tomatoes are used (which is what I used), that there should be about 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes.

I used clear glass ramekins, and didn’t grease them or “dust” with breadcrumbs, because I was concerned that the photo would not look very nice with the breadcrumbs around the edge of the ramekin. I didn’t have any problems with the egg sticking excessively to the edge of the ramekins, so don’t think that it is necessary to grease and dust them. I also reduced the salt from 1/2 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon, since the original amount called for seemed like a lot.

Bottom line – This recipe appears to be an attempt to provide exact measurements for a recipe that actually is very flexible. It’s not important to have exact amounts of onion, green, pepper, or tomatoes – just make an amount that seems appropriate for the desired number of servings.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Creole Eggs

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

4 – 8 eggs (1 – 2 eggs per serving)

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons onion, chopped

2 tablespoons green pepper, chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tomatoes, diced (about 1/2 cup) or 1 cup of canned tomatoes, strained (measure before straining) – I used fresh tomatoes.

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add onion and green pepper; cook until tender. Stir in the tomatoes and continue cooking until the tomatoes are thoroughly cooked; stir occasionally while cooking. Stir in salt.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 400ยฐ F. Break 1 – 2 eggs into each of four ramekins. Place in a shallow pan that contains about 1 inch of hot water. Put in oven and bake until the white is set, and yolk is the desired firmness. (About 10-15 minutes.) Remove from oven and remove the ramekins from the pan with water.

Spoon the tomato mixture on top of the cooked eggs (about 2 tablespoons per ramekin), and immediately serve the eggs.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

34 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Creole Eggs

    1. I probably don’t read recipes carefully, but I tend to be in the middle of making a recipe when I suddenly realize how many issues there are. ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. But — where’s the celery? I grinned when I saw it missing from this recipe. In Cajun/Creole country, bell pepper, onion, and celery are considered the ‘holy trinity’ of cooking. I’d throw in some nice, spicy pepper too, but that’s just evidence of how long I’ve been living down here. My tastes have changed.

    1. hmm. . .I have no clue about the lack of celery (or lack of spicy pepper). Maybe it isn’t an authentic Creole recipe, but a cookbook author’s generic interpretation. ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. From the comments you and other wonderful readers put on this blog, I’m learning a lot about regional differences in foods and recipes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Since they cups really don’t have to be dusted with the crumbs, this sounds like a nice dish to serve for a brunch. You could have them all ready to go and sitting in the fridge until right before serving them.

    1. Celery was really popular a hundred years ago, so I’m surprised that it wasn’t included in the recipe – hot sauce may have been another story.

  3. I was introduced to shirred, poached and soft boiled eggs in an egg cup when I was young. Some of those seem to have fallen out of favor. Odd to think of eggs having trends.

    1. There definitely are trends across the in the years in the preferred ways to serve eggs. I tend to think that hard boiled eggs are currently on an uptick.

  4. A very impressive interpretation of a very confusing recipe. That looks interesting, here people tend to add scrambled eggs to the tomato and spring onion mix. xxx

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