I Didn’t Poach It And You Can’t Prove It. December Daring Cooks
Relax everyone. Just a little joke.
This month’s Daring Cooks Challenge was to poach something, as in cook in nearly boiling water. Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.
As I have already cooked many versions of Eggs Benedict, the Oeufs en Meurette recipe really caught my interest. It is a classically French recipe that will impress. ( Challenge Recipe PDF )
Of course I had to make a few adjustments to the challenge recipe. I wanted to take every step utilizing the best technique possible to make the final dish perfect. First was to sautee the mirepoix in butter. Then deglaze the pan with about 2 cups of carmenere and 2 cups of beef stock. To that was added a bouquet garni of thyme, rosemary, tarragon, and bay leaves. I also tossed in some crushed garlic and some peppercorns to the sauce. This was simmered over medium low heat until reduced by well over half. The sauce was then strained through a fine mesh strainer and reduced a bit further. A must when making sauces like this is to use the back of a ladel to squeeze out every last drop of goodness from your sauteed and simmered veggies.
I took it this far before finishing with just a few tablespoons of beurre manie.
Then I rendered some bacon lardons. Not just any bacon either. I get this great thick sliced “Ranch style” bacon at my local butcher. Mr. Prime Beef has been my go to butcher for about 6 years now. This past week they were written up in the Anchorage Daily News. I even shared the article on Facebook. Only problem is now I go in at 2 pm on a Monday and there are almost 15 people in the place. It was kind of funny though, I walk in and get served right away. Being a regular has its advantages.
Using the rendered bacon fat and bit of butter, I browned up some pearl onions. I had a red wine sauce reducing and pearl onions spattering in fat, it was at this point I felt like I was cooking something decadently French. You do the same and tell me how it makes you feel.
The bacon and onions were set aside. Next was mushrooms. I quartered button mushrooms and browned them in a bit of the reserved bacon fat and butter. The trick with browning mushrooms properly is to put them in a hot pan with your fat of choice and DON’T TOUCH THEM! At least until you can tell they are browning on the bottom. Then shake or stir and repeat the process until you have a bunch of caramel colored nuggets.
Now for the poaching. The challenge recipe calls for poaching the eggs in the wine. I was concerned as to how that would affect the sauce and how it would color the eggs. So I went for poaching in water with white wine vinegar. I am also not a fan of the swirl technique. I just crack the eggs into a coffee cup and gently submerge the lip of the cup in the water before slowly pouring the egg into the shallow pan of barely simmering water. Three minutes later and you will have a perfectly soft poached egg.
Pull them out with a slotted spoon and let dry on a paper towel lined dish. I almost forgot, I can’t stress this enough, use the freshest eggs possible. Fresh eggs will stay together in the poaching liquid. Eggs that aren’t, will turn your poaching liquid into egg broth.
The rest goes pretty fast. Brown up slices of baguette in some butter. Reheat your bacon, mushrooms, and onions in the wine sauce. Top the baguette with an egg and sauce as you like. I drizzled some of the sauce off of a spoon around the plate for kicks.
I was especially pleased with the sauce. It had an amazing flavor and gloss that just looked out of this world. The eggs turned out just the way I like as well.
Wow was my first reaction upon tasting. Not your normal bacon and eggs that is for sure.
Check out all the other Daring Cooks that posted this month here.