oeufs en meurette
I first tasted Oeufs en Meurette about 10 years ago at the Fig Leaf, a small french restaurant (now closed) in Singapore. It was a revelation – soft poached eggs in a rich, velvety red wine sauce. 7 years later I had the dish again, this time at a rustic bistro in Beaune and it was every bit as heavenly as I had remembered. I love all eggs – fried, scrambled, soft-boiled, en cocotte, royale, scotch…but oeufs on meurette is in a different league all together. The only reason I’ve had so little of it is that out of Burgundy (where the dish originates) they are very hard to find; I have yet to come across them on any menu in London. Hence I’ve been begging B to make them for me for, well forever.
Today he finally relented, using an adapted version of a Rick Stein recipe, and the result was magnificent. Perfectly poached eggs sitting on toasted sourdough, topped with a mix of sweet tender caramelised shallots, button mushrooms and bacon, and a slightly acidic, intensely flavoured glossy red wine sauce. It may look a little scruffy, but my is it tasty! If like me you love eggs, you really need to try this!
Oeufs en Meurette
serves 2 (or 4 as a starter)
4 large eggs
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 (or 4) thick slices of sourdough
freshly ground black pepper
30g (2 tbsp) butter
1 small onion, sliced
1 small carrot, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
225ml (1 cup) chicken stock
600ml (2 1/2 cups) red wine
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
15g (1 tbsp) butter
12 small shallots, peeled
85ml (1/3 cup) chicken stock
2 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped into lardons
12 button mushrooms, quartered
Melt half the butter in a deep frying pan and add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic, sautéing for 5 minutes until the vegetables start to colour. Add all other sauce ingredients (except the flour and residual butter) and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and leave on a gentle simmer for 40 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into another pan, pressing the vegetables to extract all the flavour.
While the sauce is simmering, heat half the butter for the garnish in a small pan over a medium-high flame. Add the shallots and a pinch of sugar, cooking until golden. Add the stock, pop on a lid and simmer for 10 minutes, until tender. Lift off the lid and turn up the heat slightly to reduce the liquid, leaving the shallots nicely glazed. Set aside and keep warm.
In a separate pan fry the bacon on a medium heat with the remaining butter until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and fry until tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then set aside and keep warm.
When ready to serve, bring a large shallow pan of water (about 5cm/2 inches deep) to the boil. Reduce the boiling water to a simmer and add the vinegar and 1/2 tsp of salt. Give the water a quick stir then carefully break an egg into the centre of the swirling water. Leave to poach gently for 3 minute then lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towels. Repeat with the remaining 3 eggs.
At the same time, bring the sauce back to a simmer. Mix the remaining 1 tbsp butter and flour together with a spoon then add the mixture to the sauce. Simmer for 2-3 minutes to thicken and cook out the flour. In a frying pan, fry your slices of sourdough with a little olive oil for a couple of minutes each side (alternatively, you can just toast them).
To serve, place a piece of sourdough on a plate and top with two eggs (or one if you’re serving 4). Scatter over the shallots, mushrooms and bacon then spoon over 3-4 spoonfuls of sauce.
Eat at once, preferably alongside a nice glass of red burgundy.