Daring Cooks December: Poached eggs

Blog-checking lines: Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg.

I am a little embarrassed to admit that I have never poached an egg. Oh, sure, I have one of those microwave egg poachers but that’s not the real deal, right?  Neil is the expert egg poacher, so why would I need to learn that, right? Well, any decent cook should know how to poach an egg, so this challenge made me very happy; I was determined to get it right.  Since I posted eggs Benedict fairly recently, I decided to go with the Oeuf en Meurette – eggs poached in red wine and served on toasted/ fried baguette with a mushroom, bacon sauce.

Oeufs en meurette has always both horrified and fascinated me. Sauce meurette is one of the classics of French country cooking, a dark concentrated sauce made from red wine, stock, and vegetables. The meurette sauce accompanies a poached egg, often poached in the wine (turning them a bit of a gory hue of purple) for extra flavour.

No, neither of the two eggs (my last two in the house on that day so no room for errors!) looked perfect and smooth – in fact they looked like little piles of meat when I placed them on the toasted baguette. Clearly, I need to work on my poaching technique…

The purple colour (and ugly egg if you are me!) is thankfully hidden by the rich sauce served on top the egg which is served atop a croûte of baguette.  This dish is an excellent make-ahead one, since all the components (even the egg) can be made in advance, however it is a fairly complex recipe, not one to make in a hurry.

As you can see from the top photo, despite the ugly factor of my egg poaching, the yolks were perfect.  This was tasty and rich without being too much – definitely a lovely appetizer for a dinner party. Plus, now I have tried it, I see poaching is not that hard after all. Just need to work on the pretty factor! Thanks ladies for a fun and eye-opening challenge!

53 Responses to Daring Cooks December: Poached eggs

  1. Casey Angelova December 14, 2010 at 05:05 #

    I am sure they tasted delicious, but the purple color is a little off putting, which is why I opted for the Benedict! Another great DK challenge! PS – I posted it on the right day this time!

  2. Jenn December 14, 2010 at 05:27 #

    Mardi I think your oeufs en meurette look fantastic!! So glad you enjoyed this challenge and great job with your poached eggs 🙂

  3. Jackie December 14, 2010 at 07:40 #

    Poaching eggs are hard until you find a technique that works for you. I do the swirl method, which is how I was taught at my cookery school – swirl the boiling pan water with a wooden spoon then drop the egg in (if you crack it into a bowl first it makes it easier), then remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl of cold water and let sit until ready to serve. Momma Lee does the clingfilm method – put some clingfilm over a mug/cup and crack the egg into it. Twist the clingfilm closed and pop it into the boiling water until cooked to your taste. When you want to serve it, just untwist the clingfilm and pop the egg out. I’ve also heard you can drop some vinegar into the water, but I’m not sure how that helps.

    Anywho, I hope you make these again, they look gorgeous! Let me know if any of those poaching tips work for you 😉 The latter with the clingfilm will obviously negate having the purple colour, but there may be a way to make it work?

    Jax x

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite December 16, 2010 at 08:18 #

      That is very interesting – the clingfilm method. Will have to try that. I cracked it into a bowl first but that didn’t seem to help. Perhaps they weren’t fresh enough?

  4. Trix December 14, 2010 at 08:12 #

    Funny – I briefly thought about something like this for the IIP Eggs Party but I abandoned the idea because it seemed so complicated. Well done!

  5. Belinda @zomppa December 14, 2010 at 08:13 #

    That definitely is a gorgeously poached egg!

  6. Kate @ Diethood December 14, 2010 at 09:25 #

    Anything done with wine is a hit! This look great!

  7. Audax Artifex December 14, 2010 at 11:02 #

    WOW that first photo is superb you made ‘brown’ food look great I’m very impressed. I think poaching the eggs separately might the answer to the ugly factor or covering it like you do is also great.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  8. Amanda L. December 14, 2010 at 11:12 #

    Great job on the poached eggs! They were definitely difficult for me as well! Practice makes perfect!

  9. The Yummy Mummy December 14, 2010 at 12:37 #

    OMG. These look amazing. Like something out of a Wes Craven film, but still something I’m going to make! You are amazing!


  10. Victoria December 14, 2010 at 12:46 #

    I love poached eggs, and poaching eggs can be both intimidating and fun. Glad you went all out with this challenge, this dish looks so elegant (even with the weird looking egg hiding underneath, haha… that’s not your fault, it’s the red wine).

  11. Renata December 14, 2010 at 13:29 #

    Great job, the end result looks amazing and delicious!

  12. Miri December 14, 2010 at 15:09 #

    Good on you for posting a pic of the wine eggs – I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Yours actually look much better than mine so I’m sure you can appreciate that I didn’t want to scar anyone who saw the horrors that mine…

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite December 16, 2010 at 08:14 #

      Well I am a firm believer in posting what’s real so I couldn’t NOT post a pic of the scary egg!

  13. Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz December 14, 2010 at 15:44 #

    I think it looks fantastic and yes the sauce hides the poached egg’s imperfection. Funny I got purple in mine to but with the Benedict Eggs he he

  14. Viviane Bauquet Farre December 14, 2010 at 18:00 #

    Mardi, I must tell you that I hate those perfectly poached eggs that are made with a rind or poacher. They don’t look real to me! So yours are much better, even if a bit squiggly. Kudos… I bet they tasted awesome!

  15. Donna December 14, 2010 at 19:11 #

    Spectacular! Great job on the challenge!

  16. Stephirey December 14, 2010 at 21:02 #

    Oh, I love Oeufs en Meurette! I haven’t made them since we returned from France and I need to. Your post is just the impetus I needed! I think your eggs are lovely (not like little pieces of meat at all!!!)

  17. Paula - bell'alimento December 14, 2010 at 21:27 #

    I suddenly have the urge to go poach some eggs ; )

  18. K A B L O O E Y December 14, 2010 at 21:37 #

    You know I love you, your blog, your photography and most food, but I have to concede that the middle photo scares me a wee bit. Top and bottom look yummy, though.

  19. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction December 14, 2010 at 22:29 #

    Bravo! Those look lovely… Though, I’m terrified of poached eggs. Not so much terrified of the technique as much as eating them. I’m just not an egg person.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite December 16, 2010 at 08:12 #

      I am still learning to be an egg person Jen and it’s only recently I have started even eating poached eggs!

  20. penny aka jeroxie December 14, 2010 at 23:10 #

    I love poaching eggs. Just love the googeyness… nomz right?

  21. Robert December 15, 2010 at 01:31 #

    That pink egg brought to mind some really terrible things. That being said, I know just how amazing this dish tastes and after topping with the sauce, yours look outstanding. Great work.

  22. Kocinera December 15, 2010 at 01:55 #

    Even if your eggs got turned that lovely mauve-ish shade, I bet they tasted amazing!!! Your photos look gorgeous, too. Great job with this challenge! 🙂

  23. Mr. Neil December 15, 2010 at 07:50 #

    Classic or no, we won’t be wasting a nice bottle of Bourgogne on this, I’ll tell you! Maybe one of those cheap ones the French are now putting out, with “Burgundy Pinot Noir” on the label. 😉

    (Wait a minute…I don’t let those into the house…)

    Mardi brought be a morsel as I was writing a wine essay, and I have to say it tasted quite nice. I wouldn’t refuse if it were presented to me. But as far as presentation, I’m not a huge fan.

  24. Jason Phelps December 15, 2010 at 09:04 #

    I saw you tweeted about the color yesterday. Definitely feels alien.

    Red eggs and ham, Sam I am!


  25. David and Stacy December 15, 2010 at 10:13 #

    It looks like we tied on the ugly egg scale. We, like you, covered it with the sauce and all was well again…

    Well done!
    Stay JOLLY!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite December 16, 2010 at 08:11 #

      Yes I think this is the perfect recipe to practice poaching eggs on – because you get to cover it with the sauce!

  26. Suz December 15, 2010 at 11:54 #

    The sauce looks so rich and delicious! It’s a beautiful contrast with the yolk. Your photos are stunning.

  27. Conor @ Hold the Beef December 19, 2010 at 00:39 #

    Hehe, little piles of meat. Not the most appetising description but the finished product looks gorgeous.

    You and Neil should have a poach-off. The resulting egg-fest might do you in, but it’d be a fun way to go out 😉

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite December 21, 2010 at 09:00 #

      A poach off, huh? Well after this vacation where I swear we have eaten the most eggs possible ever in a short space of time, we might not be eating eggs for quite some time 😉


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