December Daring Cook’s challenge: poached eggs!

A quick note before we begin: More apologies are due from the Pig Palace kitchen. I have once again been very scarce on the blogosphere lately as Mama Sow has arrived for a visit from sunny South Africa. I have been spoiled rotten by her making us dinner and doing our washing (heaven), but we’ve been too busy pottering around town for me to get some baking in. Hopefully I’ll get here to feature one of her dishes in the blog before she goes home, I’ll begin the convincing with some chocolate as a bribe this afternoon…

This challenge arrived just in time! Poached eggs are a part of Frank’s favorite breakfast and he’s been asking for them for a long time now! Thanks Jenn and Jill for making Frank a very happy boy!

Jenn from Jenn Cuisine and Jill (jillouci) 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.

I decided to make Eggs Benedict as Frank goes nuts over this when we go out for breakfast. I have never made poached eggs, or Hollandaise sauce, before; so it was definitely a challenge for me!

I was lucky enough to have some farm-fresh eggs that Mama C had given me. The poaching is best done with the freshest eggs possible as the whites hold together a lot better. The hollandaise sauce was quick and easy to make, although I had no idea how much butter is needed! The poaching went down relatively well (despite a couple of swear words that made Mama Sow chuckle) and Frank was served a delicious lunch. I will definitely be making this recipe again, maybe for Frank’s birthday if he behaves himself until then…

Eggs Benedict

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 º
½ tsp. (2 ½ ml/3 g) kosher salt
2 tsp. (10 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
* for gluten free, use gluten free English muffins or bread of your choice
º for dairy free, use a dairy free margarine

Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and set aside. 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.

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. 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.

Once all the butter is incorporated, remove from heat and whisk in the salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper (if using). Keep the hollandaise warm while you poach your eggs in a thermos, carafe, or bowl that you’ve preheated with warm water. 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.

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. 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.

While waiting for the eggs, quickly fry the Canadian/back bacon and toast your English muffin. 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!

6 Responses to “December Daring Cook’s challenge: poached eggs!”

  1. 1 Anna Johnston 14/12/2010 at 1:59 pm

    Love me a good dose of Eggs Benedict, always have them when I go out for brekky 🙂 Well done Loll.

  2. 2 Ellie 15/12/2010 at 1:11 am

    That looks delicious. I could make that for dinner now. Yum! Enjoy the visit from your mom!

  3. 3 Jenni 15/12/2010 at 1:35 am

    Great job! Your eggs benedict look fabulous! I think there were a few choice words uttered as I poached my eggs, too, haha!

  4. 4 Renae 15/12/2010 at 2:40 pm

    Your pics look so nice! Glad you enjoyed the challenge!

  5. 5 Audax Artifex 15/12/2010 at 2:56 pm

    What a fabulous result you got and it is wonderful that you make Frank’s favourite breaky…. you are so lucky getting super fresh eggs which makes poaching so much easier.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  6. 6 Tes 17/12/2010 at 12:32 am

    Wow I wish it’ morning now… I will make it right away. Your eggs look perfect 🙂

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