Food Issue: Bacon and cheddar popovers

Bacon and Cheddar Popovers with Poached Hen Egg and Maple Syrup, created by chef Thomas Keller especially for "Sunday Morning." Thomas Keller

This recipe was created by French Laundry/Per Se/Bouchon Chef Thomas Keller for CBS "Sunday Morning," specifically for this year's Food Issue - and which he's named, "The Sunday Morning."


Bacon and Cheddar Popovers with Poached Hen Egg and Maple Syrup
Serves 4

Popover batter:
4 Jumbo eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. melted butter
8 Tbsp. canola oil (Optional)

Bacon filling:
4 strips (about 5-6 ounces) thick cut bacon cut into thin strips (about 1/4" wide cut across the width of the bacon)
1/2 medium onion cut into 1/4" dice (about 2/3 cup)
1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh sage
Freshly cracked pepper
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated

Poached eggs:
8 large fresh eggs
1/3 cup white vinegar

To finish:
Finishing salt such as fleur de sel
Freshly ground pepper
Warm maple syrup

Equipment:
Medium 2-qt. mixing bowl
Large mixing bowl
2 oz. ladle (optional)
Large whisk
Large muffin tin with 4" recesses for the muffins (preferably nonstick with 8 muffin capacity)
10" saute pan (preferably nonstick)
6-8 qt. stock pot (or deep sided pasta pot
4 small dishes bowls or containers
Slotted spoons
Sharp scissors

Instructions:

1.   Place muffin tin on the center rack of the oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

2.   Fill stock pot with hot water approximately 6" to 8" deep. Add the distilled vinegar and bring to a low simmer. Keep covered for now.

3.   Carefully crack 2 of the large eggs (for poaching) into each one of the 4 small dishes. Set aside for now.

4.   To make the popover batter, crack the 4 jumbo eggs into a mixing bowl. Add salt and whisk vigorously. Whisk in the milk, then the flour (taking care to break up all lumps) and melted butter. Set the batter aside for now.

5.   Cut bacon into thin 1/4" strips. (It helps to do this while bacon is very cold or semi-frozen.)

6.   Heat the saute pan over medium-high heat and add the bacon.

7.   Cook bacon, stirring occasionally until crispy.

8.   Pour off most of the bacon fat into a small heatproof container. Save the bacon fat for later use.

9.   Return the pan with bacon to medium heat and add the onions.

10.   Cook onions and bacon until soft and translucent, then add minced sage and season with cracked pepper.

11.   Turn off heat and reserve in a warm location.

12.   To make the popovers, remove the preheated muffin tin from the oven and quickly add about a tablespoon of bacon fat (canola oil can be substituted for bacon fat, if desired) to each muffin opening. Quickly ladle in about 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of popover batter into each muffin opening and return to oven. Set timer for 17 minutes.

13.   While the popovers are baking, begin poaching the eggs. Gently swirl the simmering water with a spoon in a clockwise direction. Quickly (and gently!) drop two of the large eggs, one by one, into the center of the swirling water. Allow to poach of about 3-4 minutes or until desired doneness is achieved. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

14.   Using a sharp pair of scissors, carefully trim any loose pieces of egg whites to form into a more rounded shape, if desired.

15.   Keep eggs in a warm location. Repeat process with the remaining eggs until you have 8 nicely poached eggs. Keep the simmering water to reheat eggs if necessary. Note: The eggs can be poached in advance and reheated in simmering water for a few minutes while the popovers are baking. This is the recommended approach for those who are inexperienced poaching eggs.

16.   When the timer sounds, remove them from the oven. They should be nicely browned around the edges. Quickly sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese into each opening followed by a spoonful of the bacon and onion mixture.

17.   Place the eggs back into the hot hater to reheat.

18.   While the eggs are heating, quickly transfer two popovers per person to a serving plate.

19.   Remove eggs from water using a slotted spoon and blot excess water off on a clean towel. Place each egg into the opening of the popover on top of the bacon filling.

18.   Season the eggs with freshly ground pepper and finishing salt.

19.   Drizzle with warm maple syrup and enjoy immediately.


For more info:

For more recipes from this year's "Food Issue" click here!

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