Eggs Of The Gods
Have you ever had oeufs en meurette? It’s a treasure of the cooking of Bourgogne, or Burgundy. To call it poached eggs in a red wine sauce is like calling foie gras duck liver. Technically yes, that’s what it is, in a parallel universe. Actually it’s one of the more sublime egg dishes there is, and if you like eggs, you need to have this dish in your repertoire. I’ve had them twice this week, courtesy of left over sauce after the first meal, and I dare say that twice in a week is not at all too often.
If you want to serve these for brunch, the best thing is to make the sauce the day before, since it takes quite a while to reduce to its final glory. If you’re serving it for supper, and a very fine supper it is, allow yourself at least an hour of preparation, most of which will be spent sniffing the air hopefully as the wine in the sauce perfumes your house.
Oeufs en Meurette*
8 very fresh eggs
2 large shallots
4 oz good-quality bacon
1 bottle red wine, something quite tannic, perhaps a syrah
1 cup chicken broth
4 oz butter
4 slices good crusty bread
2 cloves garlic
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T finely chopped flat parsley
salt and pepper
Cut the bacon across the width of the slice into small strips. Peel and chop the shallots.
Melt 1 oz of the butter in a medium-sized saucepan on low heat. Add the shallots and the bacon and let them sweat very gently for 10 minutes. Don’t allow them to brown at all.
Add the chicken broth and 2/3 of the bottle of wine. Simmer very slowly and gently until the sauce is reduced by 2/3. (If you’re making this the day before, refrigerate it now and bring it back to a simmer before poaching the eggs). Cut the remainder of the butter into small cubes and whisk them one by one into the sauce over the barest heat, until all the butter is added and the sauce thickens. Stir in the parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper, and set the sauce aside, keeping it warm.
Toast the bread. While it is still hot, slice each garlic clove in two and rub each piece of toast forcefully with a cut piece of garlic. The garlic should smoosh onto the toast. Set aside.
Break the eggs into 8 small bowls or cups. Bring one quart of water to a boil in a deep saucepan and add the rest of the wine as well as the vinegar. Bring to a very gentle simmer and poach the eggs in this liquid, removing them when the white is set but the yolks are still soft. You will need to do this in batches, two at a time is easiest, to ensure that the eggs don’t get overcooked. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them to drain on a paper towel.
To assemble, place the toast in a shallow bowl or on a plate. set two eggs atop each toast slice and spoon the sauce over the eggs, letting it soak into the toast and pool around the edges. Prepare to be blown away.
*The original recipe is here. I haven’t changed a thing, because it’s perfect just as it is. All I’ve done is translate it for you.