which comes first the chicken or the egg?

This month’s Daring Cooks challenge was to poach eggs and there were a couple of recipes that were provided to us along with this challenge.  The obvious one, of course, is Eggs Benny, which is one of my favourite dishes.  I have made Eggs Benny several times and in many different variations – back bacon, spinach, tomatoes, ham, lox, crab, shrimp, to name a few – so I decided to make the other recipe provided, Oeufs en Meurette.  This is a recipe that I have never even heard of, let alone made.
We usually have a big breakfast/brunch on at least one day of the weekend so this Oeufs en Meurette was going on my menu for Sunday.  I don’t know if it was the power of suggestion after reading the recipe for the Oeufs en Meurette but I had an urge to make Coq au Vin for dinner on Friday.  When preparing my grocery list, I soon realized that the sauce for both of these dishes was VERY similar, in fact close enough that I could kill two birds with one stone.  I decided to make the Coq au Vin on Friday night and reserve some of the sauce to have with the Oeufs en Meurette on Sunday…… so in this case the chicken, definitely, came before the egg.
Coq au Vin


24 to 30 pearl onions
4 chicken thighs and legs, or 1 (5 to 7-pound) stewing chicken, cut into serving pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water
6 ounces salt pork, slab bacon, or lardon, cubed 
8 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 (750-ml) bottles red wine, preferably pinot noir
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 medium onion, quartered
2 stalks celery, quartered
2 medium carrots, quartered
3 cloves garlic, crushed
6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups chicken stock or broth 
Cut off the root end of each pearl onion and make an “x” with your knife in its place. Bring 2 to 3 cups of water to a boil and drop in the onions for 1 minute. Remove the onions from the pot, allow them to cool, and then peel. You should be able to slide the onions right out of their skin. Set aside.
Sprinkle the chicken on all sides with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the chicken pieces, a few at a time, into a large (1 or 2-gallon) sealable plastic bag along with the flour. Shake to coat all of the pieces of the chicken. Remove the chicken from the bag to a metal rack.
Add the 2 tablespoons of water to a large, 12-inch saute pan over medium heat along with the salt pork. Cover and cook until the water is gone, and then continue to cook until the salt pork cubes are golden brown and crispy, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the salt pork from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, using the remaining fat, add the pearl onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and saute until lightly brown, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside. Next, brown the chicken pieces on each side until golden brown, working in batches if necessary to not overcrowd the pan. Transfer the chicken into a 7 to 8-quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven.

Add the mushrooms to the same 12-inch saute pan, adding the 1 tablespoon of butter if needed, and saute until they give up their liquid, approximately 5 minutes. Store the onions, mushrooms and pork in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Pour off any remaining fat and deglaze the pan with approximately 1 cup of the wine. Pour this into the Dutch oven along with the chicken stock, tomato paste, quartered onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Add all of the remaining wine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the chicken in the oven and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the chicken is tender. Maintain a very gentle simmer and stir occasionally.

Once the chicken is done, remove it to a heatproof container, cover, and place it in the oven to keep warm. Strain the sauce in a colander and remove the carrots, onion, celery, thyme, garlic, and bay leaf. Return the sauce to the pot, place over medium heat, and reduce by 1/3.

Depending on how much liquid you actually began with, this should take 20 to 45 minutes.

Once the sauce has thickened, add the pearl onions, mushrooms, and pork and cook for another 15 minutes or until the heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, remove from the heat, add the chicken and serve. Serve over egg noodles, if desired.


  • I did not marinate the chicken overnight. 
  • I added all the ingredients to the slow cooker and cooked it on high for about 3 1/2 hours and on low for about another 1 1/2 hours.
  • I served it with mashed potatoes.
  • I omitted the tomato paste, quite by accident, but the results were good anyways.
  • Delicious!

Oeufs en Meurette

From Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, seen on Epicurious

8 eggs (size is your choice)
1 bottle red wine (750ml/25 fl. oz.)
2 cups (400ml/16 fl. oz.) chicken stock
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
Bouquet garni (thyme, parsley, bay leaf)
½ tsp. (2 ½ ml/3g) black peppercorns
2 Tbl. (30 ml/30g) butter
¼ lb. (115g) mushrooms, sliced
¼ lb (115g) bacon, diced
16 pearl onions, peeled (200g/7oz.)
Vegetable oil for frying
8 slices of baguette, ¼” (6mm) thick
2 Tbl. (30 ml/30g) butter, room temp.
2 Tbl. (30 ml/20g) flour 
salt and pepper

1. Heat wine and stock together in a large pan and poach eggs a couple at a time for 3-4 min. Yolks should be firming but still a little soft. Set them aside.
2. Add the veggies, herbs, and peppercorns to the poaching liquid and let the sauce simmer until reduced to half volume. This will become the meurette sauce.
3. In a separate large skillet, melt 1 tbs. (15ml/15g) of the butter on medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms until soft and then set aside. Add in another 1 tbs. (15ml/15g) butter and the bacon, frying until browned, then set aside on a paper towel. Turn down the heat to medium, add in the pearl onions and sauté until softened and browned. Then drain off the fat and add the bacon and mushrooms back to the pan and set aside off the heat for the moment.
4. In a medium skillet, heat a few tbs. of oil and then fry the baguette slices until browned on each side. Add more oil as needed. Set the fried bread (croûtes) on a paper towel and then place on a baking sheet in an oven that is set to 200F/95C/gas mark 1/4 or whatever your lowest setting is to keep them warm.
5. Blend 2 Tbl. (30ml/30g) butter and flour together to form a paste of sorts that will be used as the thickener for the sauce. Whisk this into the reduction sauce until the sauce starts to thicken.
Strain the sauce over the skillet of mushrooms, bacon and onions, and return the skillet to heat, bringing to a boil. Season with salt & pepper to taste, then set aside again.
6. Reheat the eggs by placing them in hot water for a quick minute. To serve, plate a poached egg on top of a croûte, and then ladle some of the mushrooms/bacon/onions and sauce on top.

  • I used the sauce from the Coq au Vin for the  Oeufs de Meurette
  • I cracked the eggs into a pot of gently boiling water with vinegar
  • I use a very scientific method to check to see if the eggs are done – I touch them with my index finger
  • I usually drain the poached eggs on a paper towel

Blog-checking lines: Jenn and Jill 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.


12 thoughts on “which comes first the chicken or the egg?

  1. You poached your eggs beautifully, and both your Coq au Vin and Oeufs en Meurette look really delicious. I do love, in your last picture, that you can see the anticipation at the table, with your diners holding their utensils at the ready while you photograph the food – it must have smelled delicious! 🙂 Great job with the challenge.

  2. Your dish looks amazing, and how smart to use the same delicious sauce for 2 meals. I really want to try this one, as soon as I think of a good substitute for the mushrooms. Gorgeous photo at the end.

  3. Now that's a meal. We did the Oeufs as a dinner dish and it was more than satisfying – the chicken combined with our effort would have been tasty, no doubt, but just way too much food.

    We also use your scientific testing method.

    Well done on a great result!
    Stay JOLLY!

  4. Thanks Audax! That means a lot as my photos are something I have been working on.

    Jenn – Yes, this is a dish that I will serve at my B&B when I have one. lol

    Thanks Mary. I am not a huge fan of mushrooms either but I don't mind them in this dish. Or should I say that I don't mind picking them out.

    David and Stacy – We didn't have all this food as one meal. The chicken was for dinner on Friday night and then we had the eggs on Sunday for brunch!

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