Of Chili Eggs and Home Fries

Yesterday, after posting a piece about our Sunday brunch, I had a request for the chili-egg recipe and another request for how to make home fries. Well, ask, and you shall receive.

The chili eggs are very rich with cheese and butter, and I only make them for our special brunches. Guests are usually wild about them, and it was Beth, I think, who described them as an omelet in a casserole dish. This recipe is easy to make up ahead of time, and as the chile eggs take forty-five minutes to bake, you can do other things while they  are cooking. Best of all, if there are leftovers, they reheat beautifully.

IMG_0724

Chili Eggs
Adapted from Jill Lectka’s recipe

Ingredients

  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) of small curd cottage cheese
  • 8 ounces of Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 8 ounces of cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 stick of butter, very soft
  • 1 (8 ounce) can of chopped chilis

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 350°.
  2. Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan.
  3. Beat eggs until light.
  4. Add cheeses, butter, and chilis and mix well. (The butter will be a little lumpy, and with my hands I often squish it through the mixture to make sure the butter is evenly distributed. This is a messy but effective technique.)
  5. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the mixture.
  6. Pour the mixture into the buttered 9 x 13.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes or until the eggs are set and the top is golden brown.

 

Now onto the home fries. I don’t really have a recipe for them, only some tips.

  1. It is essential to cook the potatoes ahead of time so that they are well chilled when you fry them. Warm potatoes will crumble as they are being fried. For a brunch, this means cooking the potatoes the day before.
  2. I usually use red potatoes. If the skins are tender, I leave the skins on. If not, I peel the potatoes.  I cut them into large bite-sized pieces, put them in a large stock pan, cover them with water, bring to a boil, and let the potatoes simmer until they are tender.
  3. When the potatoes are done, I drain them, let them cool for a bit, and then put them in a glass bowl. I cover the bowl, and put it in the refrigerator. I let the potatoes chill thoroughly before using.
  4. Hint: Always cook twice as many potatoes as you think you’ll need. Somehow, you can never have too many home fries. I used five pounds for a recent brunch with six people.
  5. When frying, I use two, maybe three, skillets so the potatoes aren’t crowed. For a recent brunch, I had two stove-top skillets and one big electric skillet plugged in right by the stove. Hence my title: Captain Home Fries.
  6. Into the skillets, I put a generous pat of butter along with a little vegetable oil so that the butter won’t burn. I let the butter melt until it lightly sizzles in the oil.
  7. Then, into the skillets go the potatoes. (Onion lovers might want to add chopped onions along with the potatoes, but Clif and I prefer ours plain.) Let the potatoes fry undisturbed for five minutes or so, and after that, from time to time, stir them around with a spatula.
  8. Fry until the potatoes are golden brown, about 15 or 20 minutes.
  9. Drain on a plate with paper towels, then put them into a bowl. I usually sprinkle them with a little salt at this point. Serve them immediately, while they are hot.

And there you go—chili eggs and home fries. If you wanted to keep your brunch simple. then muffins (or toast) would be the perfect accompaniment. And maybe some apple sauce or fresh fruit in season.

Bon appétit!

 

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11 thoughts on “Of Chili Eggs and Home Fries”

  1. They sound delicious and my tummy is rumbling. Time for breakfast!

    Re the distribution of butter: I like to do that by rubbing the butter into the flour first, by hand or with two knives or in the food processor. The butter would be as cold as possible too.

    1. I have a set of those dishes as well as some bowls. I’ve been to Union many times. One of my favorite towns. Surely one of the most beautiful in Maine.

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