I recently purchased a set of mini cocottes. For months, people have been asking me with a slight chuckle and hopeful expression, “What do you even cook in these things!?”

My response has always been, “Tiny soups, individual mac and cheese-s, breads, individual pies! Pretty much anything, but small!”

mini cocotteHowever, I was living a lie. I had only ever used a mini cocotte as a salt crock.

In part, I’ve started to use the mini cocottes to actually cook as an attempt to legitimize our customers’ retail experience. However, my new experimentation was born of another sense which is just as strong as that of honor: cheapness. Normally, for dinner, I plan on cooking for four (it seems a new person moves onto my couch every week), but four don’t show up. Either they have to work, or have plans other than sitting at home with me, watching My Cat From Hell reruns, and drinking too much Three Buck Chuck. Anyway, I always end up spending way too much money in an attempt to feed a small army which isn’t actually present.

But I digress. The first thing I attempted to make in my mini cocottes was Oeufs in Cocotte (or, in English, Eggs in a Cocotte) with spinach and bacon. The total cost for one cocotte’s worth was a handful of spinach, one egg, and some bacon – totaling roughly 3 bucks per cocotte. Plus, you can put all your leftover bacon/spinach/etc in pasta, but that’s a story for another day.

soupHere’s what you do:

Fry up some bacon, like half a package. Or more, if you just want to eat bacon. No judgement here.

Wilt a significant amount of spinach in the bacon grease. Seriously, I used like a third of my bag of spinach. It’s going to decrease in size a lot – you’ll need enough to cover the bottom of the cocotte.

Put spinach in bottom of cocotte.

Cube up some cheese, and toss it in. I recommend a strong tasting cheese, like pepper jack. I just used mild cheddar and it was tasty but not as tasty as it could have been.

Crack an egg, and put it on top of your cheese. I cracked two; just the one looked lonely all by itself.

Put some spices on that. Extra cheese too. Due to the fact that I live on the edge (pay no attention of my earlier description of an exciting night in), I chose Cajun seasoning. If you don’t feel spicy, try thyme, salt and pepper.

Top with bacon. It can be crumbled, or whatever. Your call, hoss.

ouefsOkay, here’s where things get weird.

Put the cocotte in a pan which is half filled with water. The water level should be about half way up the cocotte.

Put the whole thing in the oven, at 350.

Wait 13-15 minutes.

Eat, probably with bread for dipping (those eggs are going to be runny).

Some parting tips:

1. Don’t over cook your eggs. The tops of them are going to be pretty glassy/shiny looking no matter how long they cook, so at thirteen minutes in, I thought they still weren’t done and ended up over cooking them. As a result, I got to experience disappointment instead of runny eggy goodness.

2. Also, make sure you don’t drop your pan full of hot water when you’re taking the eggs out of the oven. You will burn yourself, curse loudly, and scare your roommates/cats.

3. Feel free to assemble these before hand and stick them in the fridge. Then, if you come home after a full night of parties and fun times and feel like a nosh, you can just crack an egg and be done. Refer back to tip #2.

4. Don’t be ashamed to post the pics to Facebook.

Do you have a set of mini cocottes? What small food would you make?