Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise sauce and home made English muffins
Moroccan Merguez Meatball Ragout with Poached Eggs
18 hour slow poached beef spare ribs
This month's challenge was to poach
yes you heard correctly the challenge was to poach anything we wanted and our kind hosts Jenn and Jill provided a number of delicious recipes using poached eggs and a vegan sausage recipe!!!
Firstly I did the Eggs Benedict recipe who could resist poached eggs on English muffins with Hollandaise sauce it was delicious and the home made muffin recipe is a definite keeper it is wonderful.
Then I decided to really test the limits of poaching and I did two other recipes; Moroccan Merguez Meatball Ragout with Poached Eggs then I did 18 hour slow poached spare ribs.
I loved all the recipes and really enjoyed the whole challenge. I will be doing the Eggs Benedict recipe again and again the English muffin recipe I have done several times already it is a marvel.
The slow-poached spare ribs will be on my special dinner menu from now on.
Overall a fabulous challenge thank you so much Jill and Jenn without further ado here our are hosts --- This is Jenn from Jenn Cuisine and Jill (jillouci), and we are so excited to be your hosts for the month of December! We can’t wait to see what you all come up with. For this month, we decided to focus on a technique that seems intimidating to many, but with a little practice it’s really not that hard at all – poaching. All poaching means is cooking something in simmering (not boiling) water. And what more perfect way to practice the skill of poaching than learning how to poach an egg? They can make a tasty breakfast, or salad accompaniment; there are so many different ways to use poached eggs, and they are used in cuisines from a variety of cultures.
The 1st recipe is one of the most well known poached egg dishes: eggs benedict – an open sandwich of English muffin, Canadian bacon, poached egg, and hollandaise sauce. This rich and decadent dish can be served as a really nice breakfast or brunch for having company over, and is sure to impress! The “daring” with this dish is in successfully poaching an egg in water, as well as making one of the famed mother sauces of France, the hollandaise.
Our 2nd recipe, oeufs en meurette (eggs in meurette sauce), is a classic dish from the region of Bourgogne (Burgundy) in France. It involves poaching an egg in a red wine/stock, which will then turn into a fabulous reduction sauce. One serves the poached egg on top of fried croûtes with sauce, bacon, mushrooms and pearl onions. This is also a great dish for breakfast/brunch as well.
And don’t worry vegans, we did not forget about you! Instead of poaching an egg, we found a delicious poached homemade seitan sausage recipe that we think you will love!
We hope you enjoy this month’s challenge, and have fun poaching!
Eggs Benedict: Hollandaise sauce by Alton Brown
Oeufs en Meurette: From Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, seen on Epicurious
Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages: From Trudy of Veggie num num
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.
The differences between; braising, stewing, poaching, simmering and boiling.
Braising & Stewing
Braising is a method of slowly cooking large joints of meat, game birds and poultry in a heavy-based covered pan or covered casserole, using a bed of chopped vegetables, which can also include some diced ham or bacon added for flavor. Water or stock should be added to come halfway up the joint.
Braising tends to use a slightly better cut of meat than stewing and a whole cut is generally chosen. With braising, the item to be cooked is first seared or sautéed, then partially covered with liquid and simmered slowly at a relatively low temperature. Braising can be done on the stovetop, but it's best done in the oven so that the heat will fully surround the pot, causing the food to cook more evenly than if it were only heated from below. That is the meat is usually fried briefly to brown it first, then placed in a pan or casserole with a tight-fitting lid and cooked either on the stove or in the oven. It cooks gently in its own juices and the steam from the vegetables, which impart flavour. Braising is a good technique for cooking tougher cuts of meat, such as those from older animals, or ones that naturally contain more connective tissues. Braising causes the muscle fibres to absorb moisture from the cooking liquid and steam. That gives you a juicy piece of meat. Braising also melds flavours from the stock, vegetables and any herbs and seasonings.
The term 'braising' is also used sometimes to mean cooking vegetables in the oven in a covered dish with a little liquid. For example, heads of celery are braised in vegetable or chicken stock.
Stewing is a method in which the added liquid (beer, cider, stock, water or wine) covers the meat and is heated to just under boiling point. This technique is reserved for the toughest cuts of meat which need long, slow cooking, and the meat is generally cut into chunks to aid the tenderizing process. That is stewing is much the same as braising except that the food is cut into even pieces, may or may not be browned, and is cooked in enough liquid to cover.
Poaching, Simmering & Boiling
Poaching, simmering and boiling are really three different stages of the same cooking method moist heat cooking. Each of these methods describes cooking food by submerging it in hot water (or another water-like liquid like stock).
What defines each one is an approximate range of temperatures, which can be identified by observing how the water (or other cooking liquid) behaves. Each one — boiling, simmering and poaching — has certain telltale characteristics:
140 degrees F to 180 degrees F. (60 degrees C to 82 degrees C.) Some sites have slightly different ranges for poaching these figures are the most popular.
Poaching refers to cooking food in liquid that has a temperature ranging from 140°F to 180°F (60°C to 82°C). Poaching is typically reserved for cooking very delicate items like eggs and fish. At poaching temperatures, the liquid won't be bubbling at all, though small bubbles may form at the bottom of the pot.
Poaching is "to cook an item by submerging it in a liquid that is just barley simmering."
Poaching is not a rolling boil. Poaching, compared to boiling, is a much gentler technique.
Poaching generally calls for food to be fully submerged in a liquid that is kept at a constant and moderate temperature, between 140° and 180°F. Keeping the temperature constant can take a little practice. The surface of the liquid should just shimmer with the possibility of a bubble.
The liquid is generally well flavored - stock, broth, court bouillon infused with herbs, spices or anything the imagination can conceive.
Usually the most delicate of foods, like eggs, fish, fruit, and some organ meats are poached. The food must be completely submerged in the water.
185 degrees to 205 degrees F. (85 degrees C to 96 degrees C.) Some sites have slightly different ranges for simmering these figures are the most popular.
Simmering is distinguished by cooking temperatures that are a bit hotter than with poaching — from 185°F to 205°F. Here we will see bubbles forming and gently rising to the surface of the water, but the water is not yet at a full rolling boil.
Because it surrounds the food in water that stays at a fairly constant temperature, food that is simmered cooks very evenly. It's the standard method for preparing stocks and soups, starchy items such as potatoes or pastas, and many others. One of the downsides to simmering is that vitamins and other nutrients can be leached out of the food and into the cooking liquid.
Simmering is usually reserved for tougher cuts or items that need more time to cook. The temperature of the liquid is usually between 185°F and 205°F. A simmer is sometimes called a "gentle boil." Small bubbles periodically rise to the surface - the gentler and slower the bubbles, the lower the temperature.
NOTE: You can simmer with a lid, but remember the temperature inside the pot will rise and the simmer can very easily turn into a boil.
The simmered item renders a broth that is served as the sauce with your dish.
212 degrees F. (100 degrees C.)
Boiling is the hottest of these three stages, where the water reaches its highest possible temperature of 212°F (100°C). It's actually the method that is least likely to be used in cooking. That's because the violent agitation caused by churning bubbles characteristic of a rolling boil will often damage the food.
Boiling would be a bad choice for cooking an egg outside its shell, as when preparing poached eggs, because the agitation would basically destroy the egg. The same holds true for pastas and delicate fish.
Boiling food is the process of cooking it in a boiling liquid, usually water. Boiling water has a temperature of 212°F (100°C), and no matter how long it boils or how hard it boils, it never becomes hotter; for at that point it is transformed by the heat into steam, and in time boils away.
This temperature varies with the atmospheric pressure, which in turn varies with both altitude and weather.
Poaching Eggs – tips and hints
1. Use the freshest eggs you can obtain (less than one week old is best), in old eggs the whites thin out and become separate from the yolks making poaching very difficult. Whites of fresh eggs will gather compactly around the yolk, making a rounder, neater shape.
2. Use room temperature eggs.
3. Make sure that the pan is deep enough (at least 3” or 75mm) and that the water covers the eggs.
4. Crack each egg into separate bowls/ramekins. Discard any bad eggs and the eggs where the yolks have broken open.
5. Bring the water to a temperature of about 160 to 180ºF (71-82ºC ). Do not place the egg into boiling water which will produce tough whites if the water is too cool the whites will separate from the yolks..
6. Adding an acid (lemon juice or vinegar) helps to congeal (not toughen) the whites faster helping to form a well shaped poached egg. Do not add salt which loosens the whites and forms loose shards of protein around the yolk.
7. Slip the egg from the bowl into the heated water by lowering the lip of the bowl ½” (15mm) below the level of the water and let the egg flow out slowly.
8. You can contain the egg by using an egg ring or a tuna can (with no top or bottom) by dropping the egg over the ring and let the egg settle into the ring. Use a small teaspoon to help gather the whites closer to the yolk.
9. Or you can use plastic cling wrap, place a piece of cling wrap over a cup or mug carefully slide the egg onto the plastic wrap then tie and twist the ends of the plastic together tightly and place the contained egg into the heated water. When cooked remove the plastic and serve immediately.
10. Cooking for three minutes produces medium-firm poached eggs.
11. Use a slotted spoon to remove the poached eggs, drain well for about 15 seconds. Serve immediately.
Aussie Eggs Benedict with giant home-made English muffins
I love Aussie Eggs Benedict but I have never made them at home I always have them at my favourite Bondi Beach Café (The Lamrock Café) on Sundays after my ocean swim. This challenge had many firsts for me, I have never made poached eggs, muffins or Hollandaise sauce before so I was very excited by this challenge. Aussie Eggs Benedict has a thin layer of vegemite spread onto the muffin before the bacon, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce are added. I decided to make home-made English muffins also, these muffins are easy and fast to make at home and I love them giant-sized 4”x1¼” (100mmx30mm). The muffin recipe below produces light fluffy muffins perfect for Eggs Benedict.
The Hollandaise sauce was easy to make, I added a dash each of onion powder, garlic powder and dry mustard powder to the sauce.
A big tip is if the sauce is starting to curdle or separate immediately remove the sauce from the heat. Add an ice cube to the sauce to stop further cooking, and beat the sauce vigorously with a whisk. Remove the ice cube as the sauce pulls back together. Continue whisking. If that doesn't do the trick, whisk together 1 egg yolk and a pinch of dry mustard in a separate pan. Gradually whisk in the curdled sauce to restore the emulsion. Serve immediately.
I also used a combination of bacon and Chinese sausage yum yum.
The final Eggs Benedict were even better than the café version I thought the home-made muffins and Hollandaise sauce made all the difference. In Australia our egg yolks and butter are very yellow this is why the sauce and poached egg is so yellow. The Hollandaise sauce is superb so tasty and so rich.
At my favourite café Aussie Eggs Benedict costs $10 per serving, the total cost for 4 servings of the challenge recipe using giant muffins, vegemite, extra large jumbo eggs, bacon and Chinese sausage (I reckon that each serving was twice as much as the café version) was $2.88 or $0.72 each. (I still have 3 giant muffins left!) and the total time to make the recipe was a little under one hour.
I have to admit I just love this challenge and it was so much FUN to make since I love the recipe and I learnt so much about poaching, making muffins and making Hollandaise sauce.
Home-made English Muffin
(based on Alton Brown's recipe)
Serves: 8 to10 regular sized muffins or 4 to 5 giant (4”x1¼ ” 100mmx30mm) muffins
1/2 cup non-fat powdered milk (skim milk powder)
1 cup very hot water (you can use 1 cup of very hot evaporated milk instead of the powdered milk and very hot water)
½ tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
Non-stick vegetable spray
Special equipment: griddle, 4-inch metal rings, old tuna cans are perfect
In a bowl combine the powdered milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, butter, and hot water, stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool. In a separate bowl combine the yeast and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar in 1/3 cup of warm water and rest until yeast has dissolved. Add this to the milk mixture. Add the sifted flour and beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for 15-30 minutes until a few small bubbles form on the top of the batter and the batter becomes very sticky and thick.
Preheat the griddle to 300°F/150°C.
Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to mixture and beat thoroughly. Place 4” (100mm) metal rings onto the griddle and coat lightly with vegetable spray. To test the temperature of the griddle place a tablespoon of batter onto pan the bottom of the small test muffin should brown in about 5 to 6 minutes.
For the giant muffins place ½ cup of batter into each ring and cover with a pot lid or cookie sheet and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and flip rings using tongs. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. For regular muffins place ¼ cup of batter into 3” (75mm) rings and cook for about 5 minutes each side. Place on a cooling rack, remove rings and cool. Split with fork and serve.
The thick and sticky batter
You get a much better result if you use a fork to split open the muffin, the fork seems to open up the crumb of the muffin much more than using a knife
Moroccan Merguez Meatball Ragout with Poached Eggs
I decided to make a fiery poached egg dish from Morocco that uses merguez (spicy lamb) meatballs with charred grilled (fire-roasted) tomatoes, charred grilled capsicums (bell peppers), red kidney beans the dish uses three spice mixes. Also I decided to home-make all the spice mixes (harissa, ras el hanout and the merguez spice mix) and the merguez meatballs. It looks so pretty and tastes so delectable perfect for that special lunch. One for the lovers of spice and chilli heat, the poached eggs add a lovely coolness to the fiery dish. The home-made ras el hanout is superb I could eat it straight from the mortar and pastel a wonderful heady mixture of yumminess, if you wish you can leave out the harissa and just have a delicious exotic spice dish.
Ras el hanout is a wondrous mixture of spices that is just delicious it can have up to 100 ingredients my recipe has 17 spices and herbs. Remember to make a huge batch and freeze the leftover mixture.
Harissa is a fiery paste made from chillies, garlic, oil, coriander, cumin and caraway it is very very hot and delicious use sparingly.
The merguez spice/herb mix has two types of paprika, cumin, pepper, cinnamon with coriander (cilantro) stems and roots with parsley stems.
The house smells wonderful for a few hours after cooking this dish.
Charred grilled tomatoes and capsicums
Moroccan Merguez Ragout with Poached Eggs
Serves 4 or 8 with rice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, small dice
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
500 grams (1 pound) merguez meatballs (about 36 small meatballs)
1 tablespoon ras el hanout (or more to taste I used 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon Spanish sweet smoked paprika
2 teaspoons salt
500 grams (1 pound/1¾ cups) charred grilled (fire-roasted) tomatoes
500 grams (1 pound/1½ cups) charred grilled (fire-roasted) capsicums (bell peppers)
500 grams (1 pound/1¾ cups) red kidney beans, cooked
8 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup roughly chopped coriander (cilantro), mostly leaves
2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons harissa (start with the smaller amount and increase to suit your taste, I used 2½ tablespoons)
warm crusty bread, for serving OR basmati rice
1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden. Toss in the garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add the merguez meatballs and sauté until almost cooked through, about 3 minutes.
2. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the Ras el Hanout, Spanish smoked paprika and salt. Stir to combine and cook for a minute to lightly toast the spices. Add the tomatoes, capsicums and beans. Turn up the heat to medium and cook until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
3. Crack the eggs over the mixture, cover and cook until the whites set, but the yolks are still soft.
4. Spoon the ragout into four warm bowls, top with two eggs, a sprinkling of coriander (cilantro) and a ½ teaspoon of Harissa.
5. Serve immediately with crusty bread.
Ras el Hanout
“Ras el Hanout” ( "top of the shop" ) is a spice mixture from Morocco that can contain anywhere from 10-100 different spices. There is no definitive set combination of spices that makes up Ras el hanout. Each shop, company, person would have their own secret combination containing over a dozen spices. Typically they would include cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ground chili peppers, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, peppercorn, and turmeric.
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
2 teaspoons ground cumin seeds
2 teaspoons ground ginger powder
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds
2 teaspoons ground mustard seeds
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons dried Damascan rose petals (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1. Mix all the spices together.
2. Store in an airtight container.
10-12 dried red chili peppers
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1. In a motor and pestle grind all the ingredients to form a paste
2. Store in an airtight container.
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly toasted and crushed with a mortar and pestle
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, lightly toasted and crushed with a mortar and pestle
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cayenne chilli
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
For the merguez meatballs:
makes about 36 one tablespoon meatballs
1 kg (about 2 pounds) ground lamb, with a minimum of 20% fat content
1 recipe Spice Mix
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1½ tablespoons minced garlic
¼ cup finely chopped coriander (cilantro) mostly stems/roots with a few leaves
½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley mostly stems with a few leaves
extra virgin olive oil, for cooking
In a small bowl, combine all the spices and mix well. Set aside.
For the merguez meatballs:
In a bowl medium-large, combine the lamb, Spice Mix, water, sherry vinegar, garlic, parsley, coriander (cilantro) and garlic. Wet your hands with water, and knead to mix thoroughly. Pinch a small piece of the lamb mixture and cook in a little olive oil to check for seasoning. Adjust as necessary.
Divide the mixture into one tablespoon portions, and roll into a meatball shapes. Over medium-high heat, add a little olive oil to a medium fry pan. Add the meatballs and cook until golden on one side, then roll the meatballs so they cook evenly. They are best cooked to medium doneness. alternatively, you can grill the merguez meatballs to desired doneness. Set aside and keep warm.
18 hour butter-poached beef spare ribs
I had to do a confit (oil poaching) recipe, I researched on the internet and only found the normal (i.e. a little boring) recipes. So I thought that I would wing it and make butter-poached beef spare ribs. I was extra lucky the butter and the beef spare ribs were on special 50% off. Total price of this recipe was $10 (serves 12 people, weight of ribs 2½ kg (5½ lb)). I made sure that the temperature was at 60°C (140°F) the lowest temperature for poaching meat safely.
The recipe is so simple. No need to salt/herb cure the ribs before poaching. The butter flavour infuses the fat of the beef ribs and makes them so so tasty while the confit cooking method intensives the beef flavour in the meat so the final result is so so delicious.
18 hour butter-poached beef spare ribs
¾ kg (26 oz, 3¼ cups) salted butter
2½ kg (5½ lb) beef spare ribs
Preheat oven to very cool 60°C (140°F).
Gently melt the salted butter in a heavy based Dutch oven.
Place butter and the beef spare ribs into the Dutch oven and poach for 18 hours.
What a miraculous result I wish I could photograph brown meat well, the colour of the beef was still pink(ish) even after 18 hours of poaching. The meat was so mouth-wateringly tender a spoon was enough to 'cut' the meat. The meat was intensely beef-flavoured and the fat in the ribs was too delicious the butter-flavour infused into it.
I'm usually a bit of a rib glutton but this version was so delicious and filling that I could only have a small portion.
I poached two of these beef spare rib slabs (they are massive)
18 hour butter-poached beef spare ribs
The final meat is so juicy and tender