Poached Eggs in Red Wine

Merriless Parker transforms the humble egg into a luxurious dish in this French recipe - an ideal starter or light meal
By Merrilees Parker
Poached Eggs in Red Wine
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy



  • 750 ml red wine
  • 250 ml beef stock
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 150 g pancetta, cubed or finely sliced
  • 25 g unsalted butter
  • 2 banana shallots, very finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 150 g button mushrooms
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • 1 pinches sea salt
  • 1 pinches freshly ground black pepper
  • 250 ml water
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped


1. Pour three-quarters of the wine and all of the stock into a saucepan and add the rosemary and the peppercorns.

2. Bring to the boil and cook briskly until reduced by two-thirds. Remove from the heat, pass through a sieve and reserve.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan. Add the pancetta and cook for 3-4 minutes until really crisp.

4. Drain the fried pancetta well, reserving the oil (a large sieve is really useful for this job). Leave the pancetta to drain on kitchen paper.

5. Return the reserved oil to the pan and add the butter, tip in the shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened but not coloured.

6. Now, stir in the garlic and mushrooms and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.

7. Stir in the flour really well then slowly pour in the reduced wine a little at a time.

8. Stir all the time allow the mixture to come to the boil, reduce to gentle simmer and allow to thicken. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and add a little more stock if the mixture is too thick.

9. Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 3.

10. Meanwhile heat the remaining wine, water and red wine vinegar in a deep saucepan until it is simmering nicely. Break in the eggs two at a time and poach them until cooked to taste, about 2-4 minutes. 

11. Once poached, place two eggs in each of 4 warmed deep serving bowls and place In the oven to keep warm.

12. Ladle the wine sauce over the eggs, divide the crisp pancetta between the four bowls and finish with a sprinkling of parsley. Serve with crusty bread and green salad.

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