Wood-fired oven recipes: Hameen Eggs

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I don’t normally get excited about hard-boiled eggs, but these aren’t your normal fare. The color alone gives them a quality like deeply polished mahogany; the flavor is nutty and sweet; the texture of the white is firmer, while the yolk is softer. The trick is simply to boil them gently with onion skins, overnight, in the declining heat of your oven. Red onion skins give a deeper color — these were cooked with white onion skins.

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I forget who got us started with these, but when I went looking on the web I found many references to “hameen” dishes — so-called simply because they were slow-cooked overnight to provide warm food on the Sabbath, when traditional Jews weren’t allowed to do any work at all — even adding water to a pot of soup, much less lighting a fire to warm a pot of stew — or eggs. Apparently, the word “hameen” is related to the Hebrew word for hot, and refers to a long-standing tradition of slow overnight cooking in a retained-heat oven. Here’s a sample from a Jewish cookery site.

One of the sites suggests that the flavor of the hameen egg comes not from the onions, but from the caramelization of sugars that occur naturally in the white. Next time, I’ll have to try cooking some w/out any onions at all…

Others say that the eggs were simply added to the stew pot with the meat and veg, whole and in the shell. Makes sense; provides a portable snack for the kids, and a quick breakfast that requires no dishes.

Try ‘em!

About Kiko Denzer

I live in western Oregon with my family and run Hand Print Press with help from friends Max and Eva. We are interested in restoring the arts of living to their rightful, traditional, public role, as cultural medium – and think the web is a poor substitute, but until we can fashion something better, we try to make the most of it.

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