Daring Cook’s #20: Poached to Perfection

by Jenn on December 14, 2010

in Breakfast,Daring Kitchen,Gluten Free,Meats,Vegetarian

Gluten Free Eggs Benedict Gluten Free Eggs Benedict

Jill (jillouci) and I are so excited to host Daring Cooks for the month of December! For this month, we decided to focus on a technique that seems intimidating to many, but with a little practice it’s really not that hard at all – poaching. All poaching means is cooking something in simmering (not boiling) liquid. And what more perfect way to practice the skill of poaching than learning how to poach an egg? They can make a tasty breakfast or salad accompaniment; there are so many different ways to use poached eggs, and they are used in cuisines from a variety of cultures.

The 1st recipe is one of the most well known poached egg dishes: eggs benedict – an open sandwich of English muffin, Canadian bacon, poached egg, and hollandaise sauce. This rich and decadent dish can be served as a really nice breakfast or brunch for having company over, and is sure to impress! The “daring” with this dish is in successfully poaching an egg in water, as well as making one of the famed mother sauces of France, the hollandaise.

Our 2nd recipe, oeufs en meurette (eggs in meurette sauce), is a classic dish from the region of Bourgogne (Burgundy) in France. It involves poaching an egg in a red wine/stock, which will then turn into a fabulous reduction sauce. One serves the poached egg on top of fried croûtes with sauce, bacon, mushrooms and pearl onions. This is also a great dish for breakfast/brunch as well.

And don’t worry vegans, we did not forget about you! Instead of poaching an egg, we found a delicious poached homemade seitan sausage recipe that we think you will love!

We hope you enjoyed this month’s challenge, and had fun learning the technique of poaching!

Blog-checking lines: Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.

Tips for Poaching Eggs
• Make sure to use the freshest eggs possible. Farm-fresh eggs will make for the best poached eggs. Old eggs will have a harder time with the whites spreading out all over the place when you place the egg in the water.
• Adding a bit of vinegar or acidic agent to your water will help stabilize the eggs and cook the whites faster, and keeping your water just below boiling point (about 190F) will help keep the fragile eggs from all the boiling bubble action rupturing the eggs. Also make sure to salt your poaching water well.
• The other main key to success is to crack your egg into a small bowl first, taking care not to break the yolk. Then it becomes easy to gently slide the entire egg into the water for the poaching process. Some people will also suggest swirling the poaching liquid into a bit of a vortex before sliding the egg in, in order to help keep the egg whites together. I’ve found it works fine whether or not you do this step.
• A poached egg is done when the whites are fully cooked and the yolk has just started to solidify but is still runny when you cut it open – usually three minutes. It’s ok to go a little longer though depending on your desired firmness. I like mine so the edges of yolks are cooking but the inside is still runny, so I usually let them go 30s longer.
• You can poach eggs ahead of time (about a day). Just immerse them in ice water after poaching, and then keep them in a bowl of water in the fridge. When you are ready to use them, place them in hot (not boiling) water until they are warmed through.

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Additional Information:
Culinary Institute of America tutorial on eggs benedict including homemade English muffins, poaching eggs, and making hollandaise sauce
Epicurious video tutorial on hollandaise
A tutorial for making seitan from whole wheat flour

{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite December 14, 2010 at 12:27 am

Thanks Jenn for a FABULOUS challenge. My eggs were not pretty when I poached them but I did the meurette sauce so it covered a multitude of sins. I will be making this again VERY soon – so delicious and so easy! And fyi, my current photo is way worse than yours -I still have a LONG way to go before I can take as good a picutes as even your old ones!! xox

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 8:39 am

haha – that’s why I put the eggs benedict pic on top! Not my best pic either, but much better than the meurette from when I first made that dish last year :) I’m so glad that you did the 2nd challenge – it’s become one of my favorite dishes!

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Ruth H.l December 14, 2010 at 1:42 am

Thank you so much for such a fun challenge! I had been looking for an excuse to try poaching eggs again, and you came along at the perfect time! I had a great time with this one, and I really appreciate all of your help and support.

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 8:41 am

Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!

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Miss Nirvana December 14, 2010 at 5:03 am

Thank you for hosting the challenge. Your eggs benedict look fantastic!

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 8:45 am

Thanks!!

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Joy December 14, 2010 at 5:44 am

It looks great. One day I will attach poaching an egg. one day :D.

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 8:46 am

You can do it! It’s not so hard, really, just takes a little practice :)

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Zoe December 14, 2010 at 5:49 am

Times like this makes me wish I was part of the Daring Cooks (or Bakers) – just for the sake of this challenge at least, especially in light of my poached eggs how-to that I posted a couple of weeks ago. Although I suppose then it wouldn’t be a challenge for me anymore? That being said, I’ve yet to make eggs Benedict! Well done!

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 8:47 am

omg I know when I saw your post I was thinking just that! You should join Daring Cooks anyways – you’d be a great addition to the group :)

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Rosa December 14, 2010 at 8:41 am

Three fabulous egg dishes! Those are cooked to perfection.

Cheers,

Rosa

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 8:47 am

Thanks so much Rosa!

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Renata December 14, 2010 at 9:46 am

Jenn, I said so many times, but I say it again! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Eggs Benedict!!! This is a keeper and I’ll be doing it again and again. Never thought it could taste so good!! Thanks for hosting such an amazing challenge!

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Thanks!! Glad you had fun!

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Suz December 14, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Wow, your photos are stunning! Also, that has to be the most perfect poached egg I’ve ever seen.

Thanks so much to you and Jill for such a fantastic challenge. It was the first time I’d tried Eggs Benedict & it certainly won’t be the last. Delicious!

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Oh thanks so much! Glad you liked the eggs benedict :)

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Gayathri Kumar December 14, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Thank You Jenn for introducing seitan. It was a lovely dish for vegetarians like me..

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 4:59 pm

You’re welcome!

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Jenni December 14, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Thanks so much for such a wonderful challenge! It was delicious and so much fun to prepare!

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Thanks! Happy to hear you enjoyed it!

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CinnamonQuill/GlutenFreeFeed.com December 14, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Wow, you guys eat fancy at your house, all this stuff belongs in a five-star restaurant. Also, oddly enough, I’ve never tried a poached egg. But I am reconsidering after your photos…I think I might be sold!

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Ha not really… it’s not like eggs benedict is a weekly (or even monthly) item for me & my husband – but it is a lovely special treat!

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Amy @ The Nifty Foodie December 14, 2010 at 3:49 pm

WHY did I read this before breakfast? Oh my goodness, I’m starving now! LOL

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 5:02 pm

LOL! I think that means you need to make eggs benedict for breakfast :)

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Monkeyshines in the Kitchen December 14, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Thanks for a great challenge – we learned a lot!

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 5:03 pm

You’re welcome! Thanks for putting such a fun interpretive spin on the challenge with your creativity!

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Kim - Cook It Allergy Free December 14, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Jenn, those Eggs Benedict look absolutely awesome!! I have had hit or miss success with mine in the past! I am so going to try them out now! Although now part of these challenges, I will be totally giving these Benedicts another go! This is a totally cool challenge, by the way.

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Thanks so much Kim!

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Gourmande4ever December 14, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Dear Jenn,
Thanks a lot for the nice comment you wrote on my recipe, i really appreciate it : a great honnor indeed!
I thank you for your choice too, as i adoooooooore poached eggs!
VBR!
:)

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 7:51 pm

You’re welcome! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the challenge!

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Audax Artifex December 14, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Thank you so much for hosting this month’s challenge and what a beauty it was. A challenge that concentrated on technique is so cool, so many members loved this challenge as I did.

I have to admit on first look I thought ummmmm then thinking about it I realised this was a fabulous challenge I have never made Eggs Benny it was delicious and I found a real-keeper-of-a-recipe for English muffins so thank you.

Then I did a spicy meat ball with poached eggs recipe which was so tasty .. then I did 18 hour slow-poached beef spare ribs dish so again thank you.

Your challenge was very inspirational.

Your versions of the challenge are stunning lovely photos as well.

Thank you so much.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Thanks so much Audax! I loved all of your variations :)

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Shelley C December 14, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Jenn, thank you so much for co-hosting, and for providing such a great challenge! I know I learned a lot, and it certainly looks like so many of the Daring Cooks did, too! Thank you, thank you!!!

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Thanks! Happy to hear that you learned a lot and enjoyed it!

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Miri December 14, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Thanks for the awesoem challenge, Jenn! I wish my eggs had come out as lovely as yours but never mind! I’m so glad I had the experience of poaching something in wine! Mydish was delicious and I’ve learnt HEAPS about poaching from your challenge and other blogger’s comments!

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Aww thanks! I’m really happy you liked it and learned a lot!

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Jo Ann Hennigar December 14, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Great challenge – thanks so much. Your photos are absolutely delectable…makes me want to make poached eggs again this weekend! :-)

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Jenn December 14, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Oh thank you!

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Kelly December 14, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Thanks so much for a great challenge! I love eggs and yours look amazing!

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Jenn December 15, 2010 at 7:51 am

You’re welcome !

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blepharisma December 15, 2010 at 12:20 am

Thanks for a great challenge!! This was exactly what I needed…

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Jenn December 15, 2010 at 7:51 am

Oh I’m so glad!

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Oggi December 15, 2010 at 12:25 am

Thank you for a very enjoyable and great challenge. The seitan sausages made me come out of my Daring Kitchen lethargy. I wasn’t able to make the Meurette in time but it is already on my to cook list this weekend.

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Jenn December 15, 2010 at 6:54 pm

oh yay, so glad you liked the sausages!! hope you enjoy the meurette :)

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Mary December 15, 2010 at 12:28 am

This was such a fun challenge for me–thank you! I got a bit carried away, but enjoyed every minute of it. It’s funny how you forget about certain foods in your quest for the next thing to blog about, but now I have even more poaching ideas and only need to find the time to make them. Love your photos, and the oeufs en meurette are still on my to-do list.

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Jenn December 15, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I LOVE that you got a bit carried away! Fantastic dishes you made!

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Kocinera December 15, 2010 at 1:11 am

Thanks for such a great challenge, Jenn! Eggs Benedict is quite possibly one of the most delicious things on the planet, so I was thrilled to give the whole recipe a try. Your renditions of the dishes look gorgeous, by the way. :D

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Jenn December 15, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Thank you! I have to agree about eggs benedict being one of the tastiest dishes, ever :)

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Denise December 15, 2010 at 2:34 am

Jenn – Thank you for hosting this Challenge and reminding me of the versatility and beauty of poached eggs. They truly take an average breakfast, brunch or dinner to a gourmet level. Happy Holidays from Coronado, CA!

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Jenn December 15, 2010 at 6:56 pm

You’re welcome! Yes I love how versatile poached eggs are – glad you enjoyed the challenge!

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Sara@Belly Rumbles December 15, 2010 at 6:01 am

Thank you for an eggcellent challenge :p

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Jenn December 15, 2010 at 6:56 pm

haha you’re welcome!

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InTolerantChef December 15, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I poach thousands of eggs, but have never poached one in red wine before. I’ll have to give a try.Yumm…

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Jenn December 15, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Yes I think you will love it!

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sarah, simply cooked December 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Thanks, Jenn and Jill, for a great challenge. I was just saying to someone else that I prefer the Daring Cooks to the Daring Bakers because I know that the things I learn with the DC are ones I will use again. DB, on the other hand, is always impressive, but rarely something I feel like using again. Thanks for a brilliant challenge that is genuinely useful.

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Jenn December 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Oh thank you – that was definitely one of our goals, to let people practice a technique they could use in a variety of ways – happy to hear you enjoyed it!

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Lou December 15, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Beautiful photographs.
Thank you very much for the challenge. Really appreciated it.

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Jenn December 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Thank you!!

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David and Stacy December 15, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Thanks for having us!

Stay JOLLY!
D&S

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Jenn December 15, 2010 at 6:59 pm

You’re very welcome!

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Debbie December 15, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Thanks for hosting one of my very favourite Daring challenges! I had never tried to poach an egg without poaching cups before and this was fun! Now that I see all those who tried making their own English muffins.,….that’s on my list now too! What a super challenge, and yours looks beautiful as well! Thanks:)

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Jenn December 15, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Yes English muffins are on my list now as well – glad you had fun!

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Judy December 16, 2010 at 6:13 am

I had oeufs en meurette in France one time and I loved them. Thanks for including that recipe as well; now I can give them a try.

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Jenn December 16, 2010 at 7:59 am

You’re welcome! I have not had oeufs en meurette in France yet, I will have to order them next time I go for sure :)

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Valérie December 16, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Thank you for hosting this challenge, it was delicious and so much fun!

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Jenn December 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Your welcome! Glad you had fun with it!

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Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz December 17, 2010 at 12:26 am

What a great challenge Jenn and Jill, just loved it…once I got over the fear of poaching. It really is not hard although it may not always look pretty I see myself poaching a lot from now on. Poached eggs definitely taste better. Happy Holidays!

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Jenn December 18, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Thanks Evelyne – I’m glad you were able to get over your fear of poaching!

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Salty Lips December 17, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Wow! those eggs look delicious!
It was really fun to try that technique, thanks for the challenge!

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Jenn December 18, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Thanks! Glad you had fun with the challenge!

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veena December 23, 2010 at 10:43 am

Thank you Jenn for such a wonderful challenge. I am sure i wouldn’t have even thought about it if not for your challenge. Sorry for being so late in thanking you
Merry Christmas to you!!!!!

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Jenn December 24, 2010 at 11:36 am

I’m so glad you liked it, thanks so much!

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