Saturday, July 23, 2011

Baked Eggs in Mex Chicken Soup

I had the opportunity to eat at a fabulous restaurant last night called Palate in Glendale, CA.  I went with a work colleague from NY.  Since he is originally from England (think fantastic Indian/curry) and lives in NY (fantastic food of all kinds) I wanted to bring him to a place that was very "LA" with great atmosphere and sophisticated food.  Palate was it.  I am thrilled to report it was one of the top 10 restaurants I have had the pleasure of dining in.

As you may have previously read I am generally disappointed in restaurants and think....hmmm it could be better, brighter, more dynamic.  When I go out I want to have my SOCKS KNOCKED OFF.  But alas, I am usually left with that underwhelmed feeling and when I  pay the bill I think GOSH...I would rather eat my own cooking at home for half the price.

NOT SO with this beautiful restaurant.  Palate is a hip and cool, wine bar restaurant that also boasts and impressive cheese bar.  They have a menu that changes weekly based on market fresh ingredient availability. Sad in one way, because you will NOT get the same dish twice.  But it's kind of cool in another way because you never know what you will get.  Plus, it takes a hell of a chef to come up with a complete menu every week based on what's seasonally available.  (I mean really.....I AM NOT WORTHY!-can you see me bowing?)  The food is sophisticated, simply prepared and cooked to perfection.  Every main ingredient's own flavor shined through.  The styling and serving presentation was gorgeous.  Simple and not over the top.  Each dish clearly exhibits tremendous respect and restraint for the food itself.  WOW.  At first glance?  Goosebumps.  At first bite? Again, Goosebumps...literally.  The flavor,  presentation, color, and smell create a meal that is memorable for a lifetime.  If you are in Glendale, CA and want a memorable encounter with food, I highly recommend this place.  Check them out....

I know, I know.......your asking me What the heck does this have to do with today's recipe?  Well, a lot actually.  What happens when you have had the meal of a life time?  The next day you are left with wanting to eat something delicious and inspiring.  And if not inspiring, then something that is a tasty and satisfying start to the day.

Two days ago I made the 10  minute soup I posted in April (Posting called:  Sometimes you just need soup!).   It's a soup that is literally as easy as opening up cans, dumping it all together and chopping a little cilantro. That's it. Really.  And while its not gourmet, it IS tasty, satisfying and filling as well as healthy and light.  Check out the post in the archives.  I am also re-stating the recipe here as well.

First thing first, Make the soup.  Eat some for lunch or dinner and save some for breakfast!  Or simply make the soup for this recipe and then have leftovers for later.  Either way, make the soup.  You wont be sorry.

Mex Chicken Soup
6 ounces cooked chicken, use left overs or precooked frozen
1 can diced tomatoes with juice (I use roasted canned tomatoes)
1 can great northern beans, un-drained (or any bean of choice)
1/2 small can green chilies, diced (optional)
3 cups vegetable or Chicken stock (whatever you have)
2 to 3 oz dried Bulgar (If you cannot find, use couscous)
about 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (use more or less to taste)
Juice of one lime and more for each bowl at the end.
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 Cayenne (optional) or more to taste
1 bay leaf

Add broth to large pot, and bring to a boil, add the tomatoes (with juice), beans (with juice), green chilies, Bulgar or couscous, lime juice, cilantro, all spices and bay leaf.  Return to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover pot and simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve in large bowls with any of the following:  Light sour cream/Mexican crema, reduced fat cheese, avocado, more cilantro and/or baked till crisp corn tortilla pieces.

See?  I told you, it's 10 minutes.  OK, I lied.  It's more like 12 minutes cause it take time to open the cans and chop that cilantro.  FINE.  It's a 12 minute soup then.  The flavor is almost like a lighter and brighter "healthy" form of chili.  The brightness from the lime is perfect..don't go without it.

Now, onto the recipe of the day:

Baked Eggs in Mex Chicken Soup

2 cups or more hot Mex Chicken soup - recipe above on in the archives
2 eggs
Cheese of your choice (reduced or regular fat) OPTIONAL
Mexican crema (or sour cream diluted with a bit of milk)
Fresh lime juice

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Use oven proof bowls and get 2 eggs (I use soup mugs):

Add at least 1 cup of hot soup to each bowl and crack an egg in each one:

Put the bowl in the oven and set your timer  for 10 minutes.  Baked eggs are a bit tough to get right, you want a cooked white with a slightly runny watching them is important.  In 10  minutes, check them.

You can see, the egg is starting to cook, but is clearly translucent and raw.  Set your timer for another 10 minutes (or 5 and then check and 5 additional minutes)  In another 10 minutes (20 total) your eggs should look like this:

If using, add cheese (I used a super aged gouda) but Jack, cheddar or mexican fresh cheeses would work well also. 

Put under a boiler for a minute, remove and top with Mexican crema:

When you cut into your egg,  the yolk should be fairly runny.  Don't worry if your whites seem a touch underdone, the egg continues to cook in the hot soup.  Squeeze with lime juice and enjoy.

The result?  A tasty, satisfying and hearty breakfast.  The egg yolk creates a creaminess to the dish that is delicious and  comforting.

From my home to yours, ENJOY! 

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