Recipe: Eggs meurette

CUSTOMERS at The Bricklayers Arms are becoming accustomed to unusually colourful menus being presented to them. The extra decoration is provided by the logos of the growing number of organisations rushing to praise the place, among them past and present Michelin and Hardens guides and the AA Pub Guide 2011, bestowing industry ‘Oscars’ such as food pub of the year, restaurant of the year and dining pub of the year.

Owner Alvin Michaels and his family took over the Bricklayers seven years ago, with French Michelin-trained executive chef Claude Paillet arriving shortly after. Today’s well-oiled, award-winning machine is the result, with imaginative dishes such as the French classic eggs meurette described here helping things along. It follows Claude’s well-known passion for fresh organic produce from local suppliers whenever possible, resulting in menus in which English tradition and French fusion combine to keep the customers coming – and the awards rolling in.

Eggs meurette

Ingredients (for 8 servings)>> 16 extra fresh eggs >> 1tbsp white wine vinegar >>16 slices of baguette or bread (twice the size of a poached egg) >> 1 clove garlic >> 100ml red wine >> 1 shallot >> 1 beef cube or 1/2 ltr strong stock >> 1 tbsp cornflour >> 50g butter >> 20g sugar >> 150g small white onions >> 8 slices smoked back bacon or pork belly >> 200g button mushrooms

MethodMix chopped shallot and red wine and reduce by half. Add the stock or beef cube with �ltr of water and reduce by another half. Mix the cornflour with a little cold water while mixing to thicken up and leave on the side. Place the peeled white onions in a large pan and add water till covered, add 50g of butter and a sprinkling of sugar, cover the pan with baking parchment or tin foil and boil until all the water has evaporated and onions have started caramelising. Cut the bacon in thin strips and pan fry in a very hot pan. Keep the fat from the cooked bacon and then pan fry the mushrooms in the fat until cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Toast the baguettes and grate one garlic clove on each slice.

Poaching the eggsBring a large deep pan of water to the boil with the white wine vinegar. Break eggs into a bowl, swirl the water and pour the eggs into the boiling water one by one. Cook for 3 mins. You can cook all your eggs in a large enough pan, but it is advisable not to exceed 4 at any one time. When cooked, place each egg on a piece of the toasted baguette, cover with the sauce and sprinkle the cooked mushrooms, bacons and onions on top.

The Bricklayers ArmsHogpits Bottom, FlaundenHP3 0PH. 01442