Monday, April 20, 2009

Baked Nestled Eggs

This came from the Rachael Ray magazine, and it turned out really well.  I was a little skeptical at first for two reasons, the first being that it was meatless (unless you count the chicken egg), and the second being that the recipe called for half a fennel bulb.  Fennel has a very distinct flavor and aroma (smells just like licorice) and it is one of the main ingredients in absinthe, so I was curious how this dish would end up tasting.

Suprisingly the fennel really didn't overpower the dish at all, it just imparted a little sweetness which countered the onion flavor.  Overall the dish was very good and I will be making it again.

Baked Nestled Eggs

2 large red bell peppers, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 cup long-grain rice
1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 large eggs

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the bell peppers skin side down in a 9-inch casserole dish.  Add 1 1/2 cups water to the dish, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes; drain.
2.  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, fennel and rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 8 minutes.  Add the squash, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 2 cups water; bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, cover and simmer until the rice is almost tender, 15 minutes.  Stir in the heavy cream.
3.  Spoon 1/4 cup of the rice mixture into each pepper half.  Transfer the remaining mixture to the baking dish and nestle the stuffed peppers into the rice.  Using a spoon, make an indentation in the center of each stuffed pepper.  Crack an egg into each indentation; season with salt and pepper.  Bake until the eggs are just set, about 15 minutes.

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