Peppers Stuffed with Eggs is a nifty little baked eggs recipe from Katharine McClinton’s 1955 cookbook Old-Time Meatless Recipes. Originally published as Loaves and Fishes: Menus and Recipes for Fridays and Lent, this cookbook defines “meatless” in terms of traditional Catholic dietary restrictions; in modern parlance lacto-ovo-piscetarian is probably more appropriate. More than half of the recipes contain some form of fish, and a handful even contain beef consommé. Peppers Stuffed with Eggs is one of the minority recipes that’s not built around fish, but it’s only strictly vegetarian if you use an animal-free Worcestershire sauce. (Most mass market brands contain anchovies.) But there’s plenty to love here even for omnivores. This dish is delicious, healthy(ish), and makes for an attractive presentation.
The key to getting this recipe right is selecting properly sized peppers. The original recipe calls for standard green bell peppers. If you’re like me and can’t abide green bell peppers any other large, mild pepper will do. In the version I’ve presented below I’ve substituted large pasilla peppers – almost the same size as bell peppers – but without the requisite bitterness. They also hold up better during the bake, saving you from the usual flaccid ickiness of baked bell peppers. Anaheim peppers or yellow mild Hungarian peppers would also be a worthy substitute, as would red/orange/yellow bells. The rest of the preparation is straightforward. Saute a little bit of onion in butter, add a little bit of seasoning and scoop it into halved peppers. Carefully break the eggs into the pepper cavity and bake until just set.
The original recipe was envisioned for a luncheon, served with Hollandaise with tomatoes and gingerbread on the side. Inspired by the Mexican peppers, I’ve mixed things up a little bit for a south-of-the-(American)-border flavor profile. I’ve replaced the parsley with cilantro and highly recommend a drizzle of blazing hot habanero salsa. I served this to my family with as a side dish, accompanied by Arroz con Azafrán and as a complement to a favorite Spanish-spiced tenderloin recipe from the brilliant folks at Milk Street. If you want to go all vegetarian serve two peppers per person with a traditional side of rice and (vegetarian) beans. Enjoy!
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions have sweat and turn translucent. If onions start to brown reduce heat.
- Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro, Worcestershire sauce, and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Find the side on which peppers will lie flat, then slice in half. Remove seeds and placenta but leave the stem intact. (If you core the pepper you're just making a channel for the egg goop to run out of)
- Arrange peppers in a casserole dish so that they lay neatly. A snug fit might be helpful to keep them from tipping over during cooking or filling.
- Spread a little bit of the onion mixture in the bottom of each pepper, taking care to leave enough room for the eggs.
- Working one at a time, crack eggs into a small bowl or measuring cup and carefully pour into the halved peppers. Take care not to break the yolk and try to minimize the amount of white that overflows.
- If you have room, scoop any remaining onion mixture over top and sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs.
- Bake for about 25 minutes until whites are just set. Start checking at the 15 minute mark to make sure eggs aren't overcooked.
- Drizzle with hot habanero salsa and serve immediately.