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Old family favorite updated
Old Hinesville
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While we were living in Perry (1955-1957), my mother got a recipe she was to cherish the rest of her life. That recipe was “Creole eggs.” It was given to her by her dear friend May Andrews.
It was definitely a “special meal” dish and we knew company was coming when Mama made it. Creole eggs is a complicated dish, requiring several steps and using a good many pots and bowls. It was a proud day for me when Mama let me help make it. She always served it with baked ham or fried chicken, two of her specialties.
Ever since Mother passed away, I have served Creole eggs when I entertained. I’m always happy when the results come anywhere close to as good as hers. When I am asked to bring something special on Christmas Day that is what I bring. It is well worth adding to anyone’s recipe file.
I am going to take you through it step by step in its original form, and then share the modifications I recently made.
2 cups white sauce
4 slices bacon
1 onion
2 pieces of garlic
1 bell pepper
1 cup celery
1 can tomatoes
8 hard boiled eggs
Chop the onion, pepper and celery fairly fine. Cook the bacon and reserve the grease. Heat the grease in a large skillet and add the onion, pepper and celery. Salt and pepper to taste; simmer slowly for a long time until the vegetables are thoroughly done and begin to thicken. Remove from fire. Make a white sauce (The first time I did this alone I had to ask Gene Cox how. It is one of those things every good cook is supposed to know without a recipe.) Here is a recipe in case you need one: (Double these quantities for Creole eggs)
1 cup milk
2 to 4 tablespoons butter
4 to 6 tablespoons of flour
Melt butter without browning, add flour and cook until it blends and bubbles well. Heat milk to scalding, not boiling, remove butter and flour from the fire, pour in the hot milk all at once and quickly stir well until mixed and thick. Return to fire if not thick enough, and cook until it thickens.
Peel the hard-boiled eggs and slice into rounds. In a large, round, ovenproof casserole dish put a layer of sliced eggs, a layer of white sauce, a layer of tomato mixture (crumble the bacon into the tomato mixture before). Continue repeating the layers until the dish is full. Bake in a 450° oven for about 15 minutes. Prepare the accompanying meat and get ready for a feast!
Now, here are the modifications: The taste is almost the same, but less complicated to make Instead of using a can of tomatoes and chopped vegetables, I now use a large jar of prepared salsa. All of the essential ingredients are there, except the celery. That still needs to be chopped and it can be quickly done in a food processor.
I confess I don’t make the white sauce any more. There are mixes available that are much easier and which are foolproof. The eggs still need to be boiled and sliced but that is a small price to pay for saving so much time and effort.
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