Poached Eggs in Red Wine Sauce

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

In this recipe, a tomato and wine sauce, cooked down to an unctuous thickness, forms a bed for poached eggs. In the south, around the Rhône River delta, the sauce is also a popular accompaniment to poached salt cod. Serve the dish with garlic-rubbed toasts or fresh baguette slices for soaking up the rich sauce.


  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 bottle (750ml) red wine, such as Pinot Noir
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lb. tomatoes, coarsely chopped, or 1 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes with juice
  • 1 bouquet garni (6 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf and 3 thyme sprigs, tied in a square of cheesecloth)
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley


In a saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and stir until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Gradually pour in the wine, stirring constantly. Add the water, tomatoes with their juice, bouquet garni, the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced by two-thirds to one-half, about 20 minutes.

Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan. Discard the contents of the sieve. Set the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Add the butter, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, until the butter is melted. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Pour water into a fry pan to a depth of 2 inches, set over medium-high heat and bring just to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low. Break an egg into a small bowl and slide the egg into the water. Repeat with 3 of the remaining eggs. Gently spoon the simmering water over the eggs and cook until the whites are just opaque and a film forms on the yolks, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to a plate and keep warm. Repeat to poach the remaining 4 eggs. Trim the ragged egg edges with a knife or kitchen scissors.

Ladle the sauce into individual shallow bowls. Transfer 2 eggs to each bowl and sprinkle lightly with pepper and the parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of French Cooking, by Georgeanne Brennan & Sarah Putnam Clegg (Oxmoor House, 2009).

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