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Egg in the Hole With Mexican Cheese and Fire-Roasted Chiles

Egg in the Hole is comfort food, no doubt about it. This simple fare comforts kids, parents, and grandparents alike. If you've never had this homey dish you're in for a treat. You may ask yourself, "How can something so simple taste so darned good?"

When my daughters were little I fixed this recipe for them and they gobbled it up like candy. Though this is an old recipe, known across the country, its popularity has never waned. Maybe that's because you have the ingredients on hand -- bread, butter, and eggs.

You may know this recipe by other names. According to Ree Drummond's website (she calls herself the pioneer woman) it is also called Egg in a Basket, Bird's Nest Egg, Frog in a Hole, Toad in a Hole, and of all things, Pop Eyes. She started making it at her husband's request (his grandmother fixed it for him) and has grown to love it. One Internet website calls the recipe Egg in a Boat and there are probably other names as well.

My tattered copy of the Good Housekeeping Cookbook, published in 1955, contains a recipe called Picture Frame Eggs. The old recipe is still tasty, but health-conscious cooks are lightening it. Everyday Food magazine, for example, published a version called Bell Pepper Egg in a Hole, which uses a ring of red pepper instead of bread.

Aida Mollenkamp, on her television program, "Ask Aida," prepared a recipe that is a cross between Egg in the Hole and a grilled cheese sandwich. She added Canadian bacon to her version.

Kraft Foods has developed its own recipe, Toad-in-the-Hole Bake. Apparently baking the sandwiches reduces the number of calories. Each serving, according to Kraft, contains 310 calories.

My recipe for Egg in the Hole with Mexican Cheese and Fire-Roasted Chiles combines the best of all of the above recipes. I bought mild chiles, but if you want to start the day with a bang, you may buy hotter ones. Choose the bread you like best -- white, sourdough, rye, whole wheat, cracked wheat, or mixed grain. If the bread starts to brown too quickly, cover the sandwiches with non-stick foil until the eggs are done.


8 slices of bread

Soft butter or margarine

8 large eggs

7-ounce package Mexican taco cheese, made with 2% milk

4-ounce can fire-roasted green chilies, drained well

Salt and pepper to taste (may be omitted)


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a rimmed cookie sheet with baking spray. Spread four slices of bread with butter or margarine. Place on cookie sheet, buttered side down. Put some Mexican taco cheese on each slice. Using a fork, place a few chiles on each sandwich. (You won't need the entire can.) Using a biscuit cutter, cut holes in the remaining slices of bread and spread with butter. Butter the circles, too, and sprinkle them with cheese. Set circles on baking sheet. Top each sandwich with a cut-out slice of bread. Crack an egg into each hole, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until the cheese is golden brown and the yolks are set. Makes four servings.

Copyright 2012 by Harriet Hodgson