You Should Be Poaching Your Eggs In Wine. Here's Why

A little disclaimer before we begin: these are not your grandmother's poached eggs. Well, unless your grandmother grew up on a farm in the Burgundy region of France, where the only thing more plentiful than fresh eggs plucked straight from the henhouse were the bottles of Pinot Noir standing sentry in the family wine cellar. In which case, these might be your grandmother's exact poached eggs. 

Bill Buford, a writer for The New Yorker and a lover of French cuisine, is on a mission to bring oeufs en meurette to your next brunch. And when you hear how these eggs are poached, you're probably not going to turn him down. "The French kitchen, at its best, has mystery and wonder and a little weirdness," Buford explains in The New Yorker. "Its soul is often found in highly regional, rustically original dishes like this one..." He's referring to the dish's origins in France's Burgundy region, where Pinot Noir is the local grape and poaching eggs in wine is never frowned upon.

Eggs poached in wine makes for a meal any time

In 2020, Bill Buford published Dirt: Adventures in French Cooking, about his time spent living and working in Lyon, France (via The Guardian). But as he tells The New Yorker, oeufs en meurette is more of a rustic, countryside dish, and "obviously an excellent brunch food." His version calls for two-thirds of a bottle of a bright, zingy red wine (like a Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais) to be reduced with butter, onions, garlic, thyme and a bay leaf, before combining it with chicken stock, mushrooms and pancetta, for a sort of rich, red wine soup. This will be your meurette (the sauce). 

As for the eggs themselves, you've got two options. BBC Good Food would have you poach your eggs separately — in water, as you normally would — and then serve them atop some crusty, buttery bread, with your meurette spooned over the top. But if you're sticking with Buford's more traditional style, take that remaining one-third bottle of wine and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and use that to poach your eggs, before adding them to your sauce for serving. The color will be shocking ("Red wine plus egg white plus bulbous shape equals an entity that looks not unlike a raw octopus," Buford explains), but these eggs are not for the faint of heart, anyway. Save that for someone else's grandmother.