Monday, October 22, 2012

Les Œufs En Meurette

Completely seduced by this simple generous dish.

Simple poached eggs in red wine sauce. A Burgundian classic, one that I don't think I'll ever get tired of.  I'd prepared this together with students during a Thursday morning class in the Plum Lyon kitchen.  At the end of the class, I took the leftover components and put them in stacking ramequins in the refrigerator.  On the weekend, after a long day out, we came home and gathered around the kitchen table.  I poached a few eggs and pieced this together for supper.  Through this dish, tenderness and devotion are expressed in terms so clear that it puts a gentle hush on the rest of the evening.

This recipe was clipped from Mme Le Figaro. I added nutmeg and the chanterelles.  I was surprised to see that it is listed as a "difficult" dish, because there's nothing difficult about it, really.  You prepare the parts and assemble them at the end.  These can all be done in advance with the exception of the poached eggs so, in my book, that puts it into the "easy" category.  What makes this recipe interesting is the use of carrots in the wine sauce, which temper it and bring balance to the whole in a way that an acidulated wine sauce would not. The carrots also stabilize the sauce, which makes it easy to heat up again.  While each of the components themselves are nothing amazing, their combination creates a symmetry that elevates the whole in a surprising way.  I worried that the chanterelles might throw things off balance, but they are a  very nice compliment and make what would otherwise be an appetizer into a generous full supper dish.

Les Œufs En Meurette de Bernard Loiseau (Mme Le Figaro)

8 eggs, extra fresh
4 small carrots
20 cl (or about 2/3 cup) cider or alcohol vinegar
ground pepper, to season
120 g unsmoked salt pork
1 tbsp. chives, chopped
1 tbsp. neutral oil
2 shallots
2/3 bottle red wine, (50 cl)
4 onions
100 g butter
salt, to season
nutmeg, to season
300-400 grams fresh grey chanterelles (my addition)

Prepare the onion confit:  Peel the onions and slice them thinly.  Cook them in about 20 grams of the butter for 20 minutes over low heat, until they become soft and transparent.  Taste and rectify the seasoning with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Strain and reserve.

Prepare the red wine sauce: Put the wine in a medium sized saucepan, bring it to a boil and reduce it down by half.  Mince the shallots, add them to the reduction and let this reduce again by half.  The reduction should be syrupy.  Peel and wash the carrots.  Cut them into chunks, put them in a small pan, cover with water and add a teaspoon of salt and swish it around. Bring it to a boil.  Let it boil 5 to 8 minutes and remove from heat.  Strain the carrots and puree them.  Incorporate the wine reduction into the puree.  Stir it in and then whisk 100 grams of butter in.  Taste and rectify the seasoning.  Strain this through a fine mesh strainer into a small pan and keep warm.  

Cook the lardons.  Cut the unsmoked salt pork into matchsticks.  Cook them with the neutral oil for 5 minutes over medium low heat, enough to cook through and slightly brown.  Place them in absorbent paper to strain the oil and fat.  

Clean and steam the mushrooms for approximately 4 minutes, just enough to cook through.  Allow them to strain and cool, by spreading them over a paper towel.  Toss them with a little bit of melted butter and sprinkle them with salt.

Poach the eggs in 2 liters of water to which you have added the vinegar.  Do your best to have very fresh eggs to avoid the white spreading when you transfer them to the water.  They will sink to the bottom and then rise again to the top.  When you remove them from the water, remove any stray white to keep them regular in shape.  Place the poached eggs, as they finish cooking, on absorbent paper to strain them.  

Note: If you need more guidance poaching eggs, you can find it here.  

Dress the plate:  First spoon the sauce on the plate.  Place a mound of onions on top, then 2 poached eggs, a quarter of the lardons, and top with a teaspoon of chopped chives.  Place a mound or two of the chanterelles on the plate and serve.



Blogger Unknown said...

I first read about this dish in Mastering the Art of French Cooking and was so thrilled to try it on one of my first trips to Paris. And, when I visited Burgundy, I loved discovering it there, too, a dish more beloved than boeuf Bourguignon. How lovely to try a new recipe (love the addition of carrots)!

6:23 PM, October 23, 2012  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Thanks, Ann. I prepared this for someone today. I did not mention where the recipe came from, but when I talked about the use of carrots, he immediately noted that using the carrots was Bernard Loiseau;s signature in this dish. Try it this way and tell me what you think.

9:18 PM, October 23, 2012  
Blogger Stash said...

guess that's for dinner tomorrow, sized for one person.

and I have chanterelles too, in the fridge that need using. gold ones though.

3:48 AM, October 24, 2012  
Blogger Stash said...

hm, perhaps this weekend then, depends on how things go with my recent injury. as usual, my ambition is larger than my follow-through.

4:02 AM, October 24, 2012  
Blogger southern doc said...

A traditional dish, so well-known and codified, that a simple change like adding carrots is significant. And a friend can readily identify by name the chef who introduced that change.

Only in France!

7:08 PM, October 25, 2012  
Blogger Unknown said...

As usual, a work of art, both in the photographic and culinary sense.


4:05 AM, October 26, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife had Bernard Loiseau's Oeufs En Meurette at his restaurant in Saulieu, for her birthday back in 1989.
There hasn't many dishes to surpass it. I remember the poached eggs being coated with a velvety reduction of the wine and carrot puree. I love the idea of the chanterelles.

8:32 AM, November 08, 2012  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Oh my, Dillon. That sounds like it must have been an experience.

10:24 PM, March 22, 2013  
Blogger RachelD said...

Just floating and flitting on a lazy Spring morning with the sun down the stairs and promises of 75!!!! today.

Is there such a dish as a yolk-inside-a-meringue---a sort of savory-poached Ile Flottante, if you will, to place atop a salad or crouton or mushroom dish, and marvel at the golden flow of yolk when the meringue is cut?

And someday, someday---could you do a little "cheese manners" moment for us amateurs? The knife, and do you use the same one around the plate, and how many slices is it polite to take at once, etc. In our own little cheese course at home, we usually have about five on the plate, and we take a small portion of each one.

Hoping all is sunshine and golden yolks and delightful scents and Easter preparations where you are,


6:41 PM, April 12, 2014  

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