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Day 223: Eggs in Pipérade with Chorizo Sausage

Eggs+PiperadeIt was C’s birthday today, and with all the stuff I had to remember to bring along, I forgot my camera on the ledge beside the door. (I did, however, remember to charge the batteries before we left.)

Dinner was spectacular, as it always is at my sister’s house – grilled steak, sausages, potato salad, green salad, corn on the cob, and chocolate cake with ice cream and berries. Luckily though, I can regress to lunch, which is something I’d kind of like to tell you about (and ask your opinion on) anyway.

A (it appears I know too many people whose names begin with A) turned her kids’ playhouse in the back yard into a chicken coop, and yesterday aquired 5 beautiful laying chickens. She did months of research – years, in fact – before going ahead and scratching “have a chicken coop” off her life’s to-do list. The playhouse made a perfect coop, and she has a large, high-fenced, corner lot backyard. Chickens take care of bugs, weeds and much of your kitchen compost, and provide an organic, free-range egg or two per day, per chicken. There is a bylaw in Calgary against owning livestock within city limits, and chickens fall into the livestock category. Before I go into any more detail, how would you feel if one of your neighbours got chickens? Or if it was allowed, as it is in Victoria, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Chicago (etc.), would you go ahead and get some yourself?

I was over when they arrived, and 3 eggs quickly appeared. Since the kids were out and she was sure they’d want to be around at the first sign of eggs, I brought home the first and cooked them for lunch. I wanted to do a little more than just poached eggs on toast, and have been meaning to try a version of eggs poached or baked in a chunky, tomato-ey ratatouille or Pipérade (a saucy combination of tomatoes and peppers from the Basque regions of France and Spain) since reading about it some 10 years ago. Even my neighbour, who – I’ve just made the connection – is French, poaches his eggs in stewed tomatoes or pasta sauce.

Now, I only call this Pipérade for lack of a better description, and with the addition of chorizo I doubt it would techinically count anyway; really I just sautéed a purple onion, a crumbled chorizo sausage, some red and yellow pepper (I keep bags of chopped peppers in the freezer for occasions such as these) and a few cloves of garlic in some olive oil, then added an overripe tomato and the last of some pasta sauce in the fridge, and a spoonful of tomato paste, and a pinch of Italian seasoning… really just make yourself a good, thick, chunky tomato sauce.

It should be thick enough that you can make little divets in the sauce and break an egg into each. Now you could turn the heat to medium-low, put a lid on it and let them cook, or slide the pan into a 400F oven for about 5 minutes to bake them. Either way, there is the option of sprinkling the eggs with a little grated cheddar or crumbled feta or goat cheese and putting them back over/under the heat until it melts. (Just don’t overcook the eggs, like I did.) If you want to do little individual baked eggs, divide the tomato mixture among ramekins and break an egg onto each; put them on a cookie sheet and slide into the oven. Serve on (or with) toast. I wished I had some olive rye from Rosso today.

So – any chicken thoughts?


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9 comments on “Day 223: Eggs in Pipérade with Chorizo Sausage

  1. Kathy
    August 11, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Hmmm, chickens in the city….if I can’t smell ’em and they’re not waking me up at 4:00 am, I don’t care! Fresh eggs, yum! 🙂

  2. Jan
    August 11, 2008 at 10:20 am

    I have laying hens, but I live in the country. The biggest problem will be neighbours who find out and complain. Fresh eggs are the best!

  3. Jill
    August 11, 2008 at 11:37 am

    My in-laws have lived in Springbank for the last 35 years and have chickens. Now they’ve been annexed by the ever-expanding city and so the chickens are soon to be gone as soon as the new neighbors in the McMansions nearby start complaining. We’ve loved eating the fresh eggs and would consider a small coop if we had a bigger and more private yard.

  4. Cheryl
    August 11, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Personally, I like my Egg Man who delivers to the house. And I’m pretty sure our neighbour would have a conniption, she can’t deal with dogs, cats, kids, tools, people. On the flipside, like Kathy, as long as it doesn’t smell or wake me up, go for it. Just be responsible, like any good pet owner.

  5. robyn
    August 11, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    My dad used to live in a city where there was a by-law against having hens, but he did it anyway. He had his entire flock (correct word?) cleaned out on 3 occasions, likely due to coyotes or raccoons. Maybe that’s why it’s a by-law? Because it attracts ‘wild’ animals to residential neighbourhoods? Other than that, I don’t really see why it’s a problem. Hens are quiet and harmless, and produce food! And even if one got out and entered your neighbour’s yard, it’s not like it’s a pit-bull! You could probably control your chicken pretty easily…

  6. Janice
    August 11, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Our family would love to keep laying hens in inner-city Calgary! As already mentioned, smell and noice would have to be kept under control. We would love a goat too 🙂

  7. Debbie
    August 13, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Cheryl – who is your Egg Man? I’ve been looking for a convenient source of local eggs.

  8. Laurie
    November 27, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    One way to keep city chickens controlled is to build a chicken run off of the coop. Pound 2 metre wooden stakes into the ground (a firmer hold than digging holes and filling them in – or dig holes to plant the stakes deeper, and pound them in the bottom of the hole for the firm hold) for a run about 3 metres long and 2 metres wide. Use chicken wire (that’s why it’s called that!)to cover the sides and the top of the run. Very important to cover the top so that they can’t get out. Peg the wire down all around the coop because they can dig under it. They will end up on dirt, so what we did was make two runs. One grew as they stripped the other down. You need to be able to block one off so that it can re-grow. That way you have hens that can’t escape (or not easily) and are always on fresh grass and weeds with insects.

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