Winter Eggs

Reader Contribution by Jen Ubelaker
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Just like almost everywhere else in the nation, it’s cold here. Bone chilling for me at 9 degrees this morning, but the Peeps are clucking along like business as usual. It’s great to be a chicken. Our girls are city birds, but they are allowed to be as “chicken” as possible within the confines of our yard. They spend the majority of their time wandering and scratching around the garden, but winter time means less resources for everyone. We all know about the differences between CAFO and our home eggs, but there are some distinct differences in home eggs as the year progresses.

Sure, with the decreasing light there is a decrease in egg production. Around here I don’t supplement with added light. I figure nature’s will on this is good enough for me. My girls have definitely decreased in production; the Ameraucanas have quit all together, and Priscilla (our vegan Leghorn) has yet to actually lay an egg. Ever.

What I was wondering though, was the difference in the taste and nutritional punch of eggs as the season goes by. Their food sources are very different now than in the summer, and I’m sure a more refined palate than mine could detect the lack of earthworms and rose petals in the winter eggs. I’m just not that refined. What I do notice is that there is a slight change in the density and color. Just a bit paler, just like all of us in winter.

I am enjoying sticking a hot egg “fresh from the chicken” into my mitten on my walk back to the house in the morning. Not a bad handwarmer if you can get to the coop fast enough to find a warm one.

Once back in the kitchen, we’ve come up with a way to use winter eggs that can’t be beat. Pie. Zweilbelkuchen, to be exact. It’s great warm, it’s great as leftovers (as if) and it’s easy to prepare.

Zweilbelkuchen (Bacon Pie)

5 strips bacon
2 1/2 pounds onions, finely sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons flour
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons caraway seeds, divided
1 pie crust (I use 3 cups flour, 1 cup lard, 1/4 cup ice cold water)

Heat oven to 400 F and lightly grease a springform pan; set aside.

In Dutch oven, cook bacon until crispy, remove from pan and crumble/chop bacon. Return bacon to the pan with onions and butter. Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes or until onions start to brown. Remove from heat.

In mixing bowl, combine sour cream, flour, eggs, salt, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds and stir to combine. Mix in the cooled bacon and onions, and set aside.

Roll out pie crust on lightly floured surface to about 11 inches (for a 9-inch springform pan) and place it gently in pan.

Pour filling into pan and sprinkle remaining caraway seeds on top. Bake for 55 minutes until pie is golden brown and firm in the center.

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