When it comes to German comfort food, I’m not sure anything ticks all the boxes (warm, homely, easy to eat) quite like Eier in Senfsoße, or eggs in mustard sauce. The first time I made it, for dinner on a particularly dark and rainy evening, my husband’s face lit up in a moment of glorious nostalgia for one of his favourite childhood treats. (My heart sank. Who wants to compete with their mother-in-law in the kitchen?) But two gooey, soft-boiled eggs, a heap of fluffy mash and a slick of velvety mustard sauce later, I sighed, very happily, with relief, for this recipe truly came up trumps.
The mustard sauce recipe below is adapted from one in Küchenschätze (“Kitchen Treasures”), a cookbook filled with all sorts of mostly German dishes that are the childhood favourites of the authors. The instructions for the boiled eggs and mashed potatoes are my own fail-safe methods but if you use your own instead, just be careful not to make your mash too creamy: the mustard sauce isn’t terribly rich (and not at all hot, by the way) but you don’t want to overdo things by spooning it over excessively buttery mash. The idea is to feel comforted, not sick. Something plain and green such as wilted spinach or blanched kale is good alongside.
Eggs in mustard sauce: ingredients | serves 4
For the mustard sauce (adapted from Küchenschätze)
2 tbsp plain flour (for a gluten-free sauce, use rice flour)
250ml meat, chicken or vegetable stock (depending on how rich or vegetarian you want it)
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
A pinch of ground allspice
For the eggs and potatoes:
1-2 large eggs per person
900g all-purpose potatoes (vorwiegend festkochend)
75g butter (or more or less, to taste)
Salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
Peel and chop the big potatoes in half, leaving any smaller ones whole so the pieces are all around the same size. Put them in a large pan, cover them with plenty of cold water and a lid and bring to the boil. Salt the water and allow to bubble gently, lid tilted, until the potatoes slide off a sharp knife when poked (approximately 20-25 minutes). Warm the milk. Drain the potatoes and mash them thoroughly, adding the butter and nutmeg and seasoning well with salt and pepper before slowly adding the milk, until your mash reaches the consistency you like. Once smooth, whip with a fork.
Whilst your potatoes are boiling, make the mustard sauce. Melt the butter in a small, non-stick saucepan, add the flour and stir. Add the cold milk and whisk to remove any lumps, then pour in the stock, stirring all the time, and bring to the boil. Allow to bubble vigorously, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time, before removing from the heat, stirring in the mustard and seasoning to taste with salt, pepper and the allspice. Cover and put to one side (you can reheat it quickly before serving).
Place your eggs in a small pan with a 2cm cold water, cover and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 6 minutes before draining, covering with cold water and, when cool enough to handle, peeling. Serve your eggs cut in half – the centres should still be gooey.
What are your favourite comfort foods? Have you tried eggs in mustard sauce?