Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Daring Kitchen: December challenge - Poach to Perfection!

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Blog Check in 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.

Jenn, of Jenn Cuisine, and Jill have offered us up a great challenge this month.  I have never poached an egg before.... hmmmm, nor for that matter have I ever eaten one.  To be honest, it sounded a bit repulsive to me.  I tolerate eggs at best and undercooked whites make me want to gag.  Not a pretty picture! I just had it in my head that poached eggs equalled undercooked, runny whites.  Now I suppose that I could have made my poached eggs undercooked with runny whites, but I cooked the heck out of them so they turned out pretty darn good.

 I truly had it within my heart to not only do the poached eggs and hollandaise sauce, but also make my own English muffins.  But alas, here it is 6:50 p.m. and I just finished cooking up the eggs and now work on my blog to have this all in before deadline.  What do they say about the road being paved with good intentions???  Any way, I have an amazing sounding English muffin recipe that I WILL try my hand at.... some day.

Eggs Benedict

Serves 4

4 eggs (size is your choice)
2 English muffins
4 slices of Canadian bacon/back bacon (or plain bacon if you prefer)
Chives, for garnish
Splash of vinegar (for poaching)

For the hollandaise (makes 1.5 cups):
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp. (5 ml) water
¼ tsp. (1 ¼ ml/1½ g) sugar
12 Tbl. (170 g/6 oz.) unsalted butter, chilled and cut in small pieces ยบ
½ tsp. (2 ½ ml/3 g) kosher salt
2 tsp. (10 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

1. Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer.
2. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and set aside.
3. Whisk egg yolks and 1 tsp. (5 ml) water in a mixing bowl large enough to sit on the saucepan without touching the water (or in top portion of a double boiler). Whisk for 1–2 minutes, until egg yolks lighten. Add the sugar and whisk 30 seconds more.
4. Place bowl on saucepan over simmering water and whisk steadily 3–5 minutes (it only took about 3 for me) until the yolks thicken to coat the back of a spoon.
5. Remove from heat (but let the water continue to simmer) and whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time. Move the bowl to the pan again as needed to melt the butter, making sure to whisk constantly.
6. Once all the butter is incorporated, remove from heat and whisk in the salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper (if using).
7. Keep the hollandaise warm while you poach your eggs in a thermos, carafe, or bowl that you’ve preheated with warm water.
8. If the water simmering in your pan has gotten too low, add enough so that you have 2–3 inches of water and bring back to a simmer.
9. Add salt and a splash of vinegar (any kind will do). I added about a tablespoon of vinegar to my small saucepan (about 3 cups of water/720 ml of water), but you may need more if you’re using a larger pan with more water.
10. Crack eggs directly into the very gently simmering water (or crack first into a bowl and gently drop into the water), making sure they’re separated. Cook for 3 minutes for a viscous but still runny yolk.
11. While waiting for the eggs, quickly fry the Canadian/back bacon and toast your English muffin.
12. Top each half of English muffin with a piece of bacon. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, draining well, and place on top of the bacon. Top with hollandaise and chopped chives, and enjoy


  1. Poached are supposed to have cooked whites and the yolk can be runny to hard (this is to personal taste) lovely looking sauce as well. Great job on this challenge.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. The whites are definitely supposed to be completely cooked, and as Audax said, the yolk can be cooked to your taste :) Glad you liked them!

  3. Perfectly done. I wish I could have one of those for breakfast right now.

  4. I'd love to try eggs benedict! Looks and sounds soooo yummy! Even more with those crispy bacon.