Eggs Poached in Red Wine - Food Gypsy

Poached Eggs in Red Wine Sauce – Oeufs en Meurette

Published On December 22, 2014 | By Gypsy | All Recipes, Beef & Veal, Featured, The Mains

French country cooking at it’s finest, Poached Eggs in Red Wine Sauce, or as it’s know in it’s native tongue, Oeufs en Meurette.  From the humble villages of Burgundy, farm fresh eggs poached in a rich red wine beef sauce served with crisp lardons, sauteed mushrooms and croutons.

Not long ago we found ourselves in the enviable position of having three liters of sauce leftover from a massive batch of Boeuf Bourguignon.  This is the base of this recipe in France; leftover red wine beef sauce, a chunk of salt pork in the larder, eggs in the chicken coup and a loaf of day old bread on the table.  Far from haute cuisine, this is how the French do leftovers.

Oeufs en Meurette (Poached Eggs in Red Wine Sauce) was among the first meals I enjoyed at my mother-in-law’s table in Reneve, France, the heart of Burgundy.  A recipe passed on from her mother and her mother before her, it has since become a household favorite, made by the French Chef in my life; this is his homage to home and family.  

Rich and full,Oeufs en Meurette is the perfect winter meal.   If  you’re not in the mood to make Boeuf Bourguignon, you can shortcut the process with this recipe.  But before we get to that, let’s cover one of the basics of French cooking; Lardons.

Classic Lardons - Food Gypsy

It makes my skin crawl when I see food writers (both pro and amateur) substitute bacon for lardons in French classics, particularly when they compound the error by saying “cut bacon into lardons”.  Umm, no.  Can you substitute bacon for lardons in a recipe that calls for lardons?  Yes.  Is bacon the same as lardons?  No.  Can bacon be cut into lardons?  No again.

Lardons (AKA: lardoons): Refers to a specific meat, cut and accompanying cooking technique in French cuisine using cured pork belly; that’s SALT PORK, NOT BACON.  The right angled cut is approximately a centimeter (1/3 inch) square, by approximately three centimeters (1 inch) long, with some variances for specific dishes.  Salt pork is blanched to remove excess salt, fat and impurities before the lardons are finally cut, crisped and added to dishes for fat and flavour.

Unlike bacon, salt pork is not (traditionally) smoked.  Rather, it’s cured with salt alone to keep it long into the winter before the days of refrigeration.  North American bacon is generally sliced into thin rashers, so while you may cut bacon to emulate lardons, you cannot cut bacon into lardons because they are two different ingredients made with the same meat.   

OK, now that we have that straight, let’s cook.

Cooking lardons - Food Gypsy Croutons - Food Gyspy

Plating, croutons & eggs first - Food Gypsy Plating, add sauce and garnish - Food Gypsy Finish with croutons - Food Gypsy

 

Poached Eggs in Red Wine Sauce – Oeufs en Meurette

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: four to six

1 bottle (decent) red wine
2 cups beef (or veal) stock
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bouquet garni (2 sprigs of thyme, a bay leaf, 5 or 6 parsley stems,
10 – 12 whole black peppercorns)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
salt & pepper to taste

8 fresh eggs
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 pound salt pork
3 cups mushrooms, quartered (optional)
2 cups pearl onions, peeled, whole (optional)
2 tablespoons butter

Croutons:
8 slices of baguette, cut thick
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, peeled whole
1 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped

Method:

1.  Melt butter in a medium sauce pan and start by sweating your onions for about 3 minutes over medium heat.  Add  carrot and celery and a touch of seasoning and cook until just tender.  Add wine, stock, garlic and bouquet garni, then bring the whole works to a vigorous boil for about 3 minutes.  Reduce heat and simmer until base sauce is reduced by about half, 30 – 35 minutes.   Then take the stock base and pass it through a chinose or sieve, pressing lightly on the solid remains of your vegetables to extract all the liquid.

2. While your sauce reduces, make a short roux.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small pan over medium heat, then add 2 tablespoons of flour and cook, stirring constantly as paste forms, about 3 to 5 minutes.  (You will know when your flour is cooked when the roux starts to smell like cookies.) Whisk the warm roux, a spoon full at a time,  into the beef and wine brew until it thickens enough to coat the back of your spoon.  Then remove from heat and reserve.

3.  As things are cooking, poach your salt pork.  Cut your salt pork into strips; about 1/3 of an inch (1 centimeter) thick, then add the pork to in a small saucepan cover with cold water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until pork is tender and cooked, and all impurities are removed, about 5 minutes.  Remove salt pork from water, cool & dry then cut in to lardon strips, about 1/3 of an inch (1 centimeter) wide and 1 inch (3 centimeters) long.  

4.  Meanwhile, cook the garnish in a large shallow pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan, add the mushrooms, and sauté until tender.  Remove mushrooms, then add lardons with the remaining butter and fry until golden. Lift out the lardons and drain on paper towel.  Add the pearl onions and the last of the butter and sauté gently, over medium low heat, until brown and tender, shifting the pan often so they color evenly, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain off remaining fat, add mushrooms and lardons back to your onions.  Take your now thickened sauce and pour it over the garnish.  Bring the sauce to a low boil, scarping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan and taste, before adjusting seasoning as needed and reserving at low heat.

5. To poach the eggs:  Bring a pot of water, with a splash of white vinegar to a boil.  Break four eggs, one by one, into small individual bowls.  Stir the boiling water vigorously with a whisk and slip in eggs, quickly, one at a time, as the bubbles spin the eggs. Lower your heat and poach the eggs for about 3 minutes until the yolks are firm enough to lift but still soft to the touch. Lift out the eggs with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Poach the remaining eggs in the same way. Trim off any stringy edges and set eggs aside.

6. Make the croutons, heat butter in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Toast the croutons in the butter until golden brown on both sides, 2 – 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan on to waiting plate, lined with paper towel. Cut the bottom off the garlic clove and rub the garlic generously on the warm, butter drenched, crisp bread and reserve until needed.

7.  To serve, reheat your eggs by simmering them in the sauce, on a very low temperature,for 2 – 3 minutes until just warmed through. If necessary, reheat croutons. Warm your serving bowls (or plates) prior to serving, place two croutons on the bottom of your serving dish, then place eggs on top of the croutons and finish with sauce, lardons, onions and mushrooms. Finally, dip one end of the remaining croutons in a bit of the sauce then into the parsley and place artfully to adorn dish. Sprinkle with a touch for parsley for that oh, so French touch.

Pro Tip from the Chef in my life, Benoit Gelinotte (who’s served enough Oeufs en Meurette professionally in Michelin Star French restaurants to know): You can make your sauce, cook the garnish and poach your eggs the day prior and store cold.  Store eggs in a bowl of water in your refrigerator, reserve sauce and garnish separately and chill.  Croutons can stand a full day to be warmed the next, for an almost instant meal.

Finish with a splash of truffle oil.  Trust me on that.

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About The Author

Recipe testing and blogging about food, wine and the art of great living from her home kitchen just outside Ottawa; Cori (Corinna) Horton is a food marketing consultant, cook and real food advocate sharing all things delicious - right here.