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Recipe: Backcountry Poached Eggs

Elevate your morning with this surprisingly easy technique. Click here for a step-by-step slideshow.

by: Jennifer Bowen

Poached eggs are easier than you might think.
Poached eggs are easier than you might think.

“I love fresh eggs in the backcountry,” says our Trail Chef. “They’re filling, nutritious, and a great change of pace from granola or oatmeal.” And doable on any morning you don’t have to rush: It only takes about 10 minutes to poach two eggs, and the water-cooking technique makes cleanup easy. Packed properly, whole eggs should keep for at least four days in your pack. 

2 whole eggs
Salt and pepper
Vinegar or lemon juice (about 1 tsp)

At home
Pack your eggs in a tight-fitting, hard-sided container (like a mug). Pad with paper towels; you want to make sure they don’t have room to move around. Or use a specialized egg carrier, like Coghlan’s plastic 6-Egg Holder ($3; 3 oz.;

In Camp
In a small pot or shallow pan, bring about 2 inches of water to a boil.  Add a dash of vinegar or lemon juice, which acts to quickly bind the egg and prevent it from breaking apart in the water. It’s especially important if yolks are broken.
Carefully crack both eggs into a small bowl. This will make getting them into the water bath easier. You can also remove egg shell fragments by scooping them out with half of one eggshell. If one or more yolks are broken, don't worry; the egg will be a little messy, but it will still be delicious! Tip: Make sure to use hot water and soap to clean this bowl later. 
Carefully pour eggs into boiling water. Quickly bring to a simmer by reducing heat (or by lifting your pan gently above the stove if you flame level doesn’t adjust easily.) In cold weather, it’s a good idea to partially cover the pot, to keep heat in without letting the boiling get too vigorous.
Allow eggs to cook undisturbed for a couple minutes. Once they begin to firm up, you can use a spoon to cut through the whites if they’ve merged. Also use a spoon to carefully splash the yolks with hot water until the area above the yolk turns white.  
Use the back of your plastic spoon, gently nudge each egg to check if it’s stuck to the bottom of the pot. If so, push the spoon just along the bottom of the pan itself carefully releasing the stuck portion of the egg.
Texture will vary based on cook time: About three minutes for very soft eggs, 4 minutes for runny yolks, or 5 minutes for firm, creamy yolks. Allow more time if you’re at high elevation. When the eggs are cooked, scoop them out one at a time, tipping them against the inside of the pot to drain excess water.
Top with salt and pepper for the most delicious treat ever.

Cook time 10 min
Serves 1-2

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