I am of the school of thought that there is no point in eating eggs unless they are runny and gooey. I am a bit of a freak when it comes to eggs … I love cooking and eating them and frequently do. Thus, when I experienced my first Oeufs en Meurette on a recent trip to Burgundy, I knew that this was a dish I wanted to be able to prepare and enjoy all the time. A rich red wine reduction, flavoured with herbs and smoky pork belly, together with a creamy, gooey poached egg all mopped up with bread – my idea of heaven on a plate. So, imagine my dismay and frustration when I did try and prepare it at home and failed miserably several times. At first, I seriously missed the mark with the red wine sauce – far too acidic with the appearance of shoe polish. Then, for some reason I lost my only super-power – the ability to poach eggs – something I pride myself in doing! I was very successful in turning them into golf balls, and subsequent attempts resulted in watery-scrambled eggs. What was happening to me? I hit the books and the blogs, but I still have not been able to figure out why on that particular day, I managed to have 6 spoilt poached eggs. So, I took a deep breath, poured myself a good glass of Burgundy and started again, this time using the fail-proof cling film method from Masterchef Season 1 Cookbook – I managed to achieve the dish I had envisioned. Thankfully, I have since recovered my special power (whew!)
Red wine sauce sauce
- 1 shallot
- 1 carrot
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 30 g smoked pork belly
- bay leaf
- 50 g butter
- pinch of flour
- 500 mL red wine
- salt and pepper
Peel and chop the carrot and shallots into small cubes. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Chop the smoked pork belly into small cubes.
Melt the butter in a pan and add the shallots, garlic and carrots until they soften and the butter turns a light colour. Add the pork belly and herbs followed by a sprinkling of flour.
Add the red wine and reduce the heat so that the sauce simmers gently. Simmer the red wine for about 1 and half hours, making sure to stir occasionally.
Once the sauce has reduced down, taste and season accordingly. The red wine sauce should have a slight acidic taste but should not be overly so and the sweetness of the shallot/carrots should balance everything out. Once seasoned, filter the sauce using a sieve, making sure to press down well to collect all the red wine reduction. Just before serving, heat the sauce gently in a pan, add a knob of butter and stir well to emulsify and give the sauce a good glossy finish.
Compote of shallots and smoked pork belly
- 100 g butter
- 200 g shallots
- 100 g smoked pork belly
Chop the shallots finely. Chop the pork belly into small cubes. Melt the butter in a pan until it starts to brown, add the shallots and cook until they become translucent. Add the chopped pork belly and cook until they become crispy. Add pepper to season.
Since I started the blog post with how I had lost my egg-poaching ability, I fear that I am not qualified in explaining how to poach the perfect egg. However, I will try my best to explain the Cheats method. However, if anyone is dubious and would like an authentic explanation read Conor@Hold the Beef – an really awesome explanation on poaching eggs.
Fill a saucepan with water and set to boil. Cut a piece of clingfilm and brush some oil over the clingfilm. Place the oiled clingfilm into a small dish/bowl with the oiled side up. Gently break the egg into the cling film. Gather up the edges, twist and tie into a knot, ensuring that there are no air remaining in the parcel. Place the egg parcel into the simmering water and cook for 3 to 4 min. Remove from the pan and carefully cut the knot to remove the egg.
Pour some of the warmed red wine reduction into a dish, spoon the shallot and pork belly into the sauce and then gently lay the poached egg on top. Serve with some crunchy bread and enjoy with, yet another good glass of Burgundy!