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Oeufs en meuette

A jogger runs past the Eiffel Tower on Wednesday in Paris.
A jogger runs past the Eiffel Tower on Wednesday in Paris.

Here's a breakdown of the dish.

1. The basic idea is a poached egg (use red wine alone…broth of any kind tends to discolor the egg) served on a crouton or English muffin slice, garnished with a ham or bacon and vegetable sauce that is made with the red wine and broth.

2. Poaching techniques: simmer the wine until you have bubbles…slide the egg from a teacup or small dish…coddle by spooning liquid over the egg…gently detach from the bottom…remove to a bowl of warm water…trim the edges.

3. For the sauce and garnish: cook things in order of their hardness…i.e. hard carrots need more time than soft mushrooms or tender snow peas. In this case cook in broth your carrots, ham or bacon pieces, mushrooms in that order. Keep warm. Drain the broth into the wine after poaching is completed, and reduce. Season if necessary, and thicken with a little corn starch.

4. Re-combine the sauce with the garnish, and ladle over the eggs and English muffin slices.

To make White Wine Oeufs en Meuette, the process is quite similar. Here's recipe that I developed.


A Radio Kitchen Original Recipe

½ bottle off dry white wine, like viognier or chenin blanc

4 large whole eggs

1 chicken breast, sliced into thin flat cutlets

olive oil

salt and black pepper

2 cups chicken broth

1 medium carrot, diced

4 medium white mushrooms, washed and coarsely chopped

4 or 5 spring onions, trimmed and cut into ¼ inch pieces, green and white parts

1 tsp corn starch

½ tsp light brown sugar

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp ground tarragon

2 English muffins, sliced and lightly toasted and buttered

1. Bring the wine to boil in a small sauce pan. When it is rolling, reduce heat to a bubbling simmer. (The bubbles will help keep the egg from sticking to the bottom of the pan.) Gently crack a whole egg into a tea cup, give the wine a swirl, and pour the egg into the center of the wine. With a spatula, keep the bottom of the egg free from the sauce pan. Using a spoon, gently ladle hot wine over the egg to ensure uniform cooking. Continue poaching the egg until all the white is cooked through. When it is done, gently lift the poached egg out of the pan with a flat straining spoon, and transfer it to a bowl of warm water. Repeat for the rest of the eggs.

2. Sauté the thin chicken cutlets in olive oil in a skillet. Turn several times as they cook. When they start to get golden brown, remove them and set aside, keeping them warm.

3. Deglaze the skillet with the chicken broth, scraping up any brown bits. Bring to a boil over high heat, then add the carrots. As they become tender add the mushrooms, and reduce heat to medium. Cook another 4-5 minutes. Finally add the cut up spring onions, stir briefly, then remove from heat. Do not let them overcook.

4. Strain off the chicken broth and set the vegetables aside in a bowl. Combine the white wine and the broth in the skillet and reduce by ¾ over high heat. When the sauce is reduced, make a slurry with the corn starch and add it back to thicken.

5. Over low heat, add the light brown sugar (to taste…it should only renew the fruitiness of the wine, not make the sauce sweet) the nutmeg and the tarragon. Blend well.

Return the vegetables to the sauce and keep warm.

6. Place the buttered toasted English muffins on a plate. Lift out the poached eggs one by one, and trim away the raggedly edges. Place one egg on each muffin. Spoon

on some of the vegetable garnish. Using your fingers, shred the chicken breast meat and sprinkle it into the sauce and then spoon over the eggs. Serve immediately.

Serves two people

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.