Poached Eggs with Red Wine Sauce
had a distinct French bent to it, especially IN THE EARLY YEARS, F&W in the recipes. Anne Willan, founder of the prestigious École de Cuisine La Varenne in France, expounded the virtues of cooking with red wine and shared a recipe for classic oeufs pochés en meurette, a Burgundian preparation reminiscent of eggs Benedict, with egg-topped buttered toast rounds. In her version, Willan used red Burgundy to make a rich, glossy sauce studded with bits of bacon, which she spooned over the runny eggs. She didn’t insist on using Burgundian wine, but she strongly advised the cook: “If it is not fit to drink, it is not fit for the pot.” Traditionally the eggs for this dish are poached in red wine; it adds a bit of flavor, but the eggs take on a grayish-purple color. This version calls for eggs that have been poached in water, then assembled with the red wine sauce at the end.
TOTAL 1 HR 30 MIN; SERVES 8
2 cups water 1/4 cup veal demiglace (such as D’Artagnan) 2 cups dry red wine (such as Burgundy) 1 cup chopped tomato 2 shallots, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup) Bouquet garni: 5 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, 1 thyme sprig, and 1 fresh bay leaf, tied securely with butcher’s twine 1 (6-oz.) bacon slab, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes (about 11/4 cups) 1 tsp. unsalted butter, softened 1 tsp. all-purpose flour 1/8 tsp. kosher salt 1/8 tsp. black pepper 8 poached eggs 8 white bread slices (such as Pepperidge Farm), cut into 3-inch rounds and sautéed in butter and oil until browned 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Whisk together 2 cups water and demiglace in a large nonreactive saucepan over medium until demiglace dissolves, about 2 minutes. Stir in wine, tomato, shallots, and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil over high; reduce heat to medium-high, and simmer until reduced by half (about 2 cups), 50 to 55 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer over a small nonreactive saucepan. Discard solids, and set wine mixture aside.
2. While wine mixture reduces, heat a medium skillet over medium-high. Add bacon, and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.
3. Stir together softened butter and flour in a small bowl until smooth to make a beurre manié. Bring reserved wine mixture to a simmer over medium, and gradually whisk in beurre manié. Cook, whisking constantly, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cooked bacon, and season with salt and pepper.
4. To serve, place 1 poached egg on each fried bread round; spoon about 21/2 tablespoons wine sauce over each egg. Sprinkle evenly with parsley, and serve with remaining wine sauce.
NOTE This dish can be made up to 8 hours ahead. If you have poached the eggs ahead of time, cover with water and refrigerate them separately from the sauce. Before using the poached eggs, quickly immerse them in a large skillet of simmering water until just heated through, about 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Wrap fried bread rounds loosely in foil and keep at room temperature.