Audible Groaning Eggs a la Julia

 Give this delightful brunch recipe a try. 

For the sauce:
  • 2 cups (500ml) rich beef stock (or chicken stock, in a pinch)
  • 2 cups (500ml) red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 2 tablespoons flour
For the garnish:
  • 4 ounces (120g) smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces (240g) small button mushrooms, halved
  • salt
For the eggs:
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
To serve:
  • 8 slices pain de campagne, or any hearty country-style bread
  • 1 large clove garlic, halved
  • fresh thyme, for garnish

For the sauce, combine the stock, wine, herbs, shallots, carrot and seasonings in a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil rapidly until the liquid has reduced to two cups (500ml). Strain out the shallots and herbs. Blend 2 tablespoons of the butter with the flour, working them together into a smooth paste. Off the heat, whisk the butter-flour mixture into the wine. Return it to the heat and boil for about 30 seconds, until thickened. Cover and set aside.
While the wine mixture is boiling, heat a frying pan over medium-high heat and cook the bacon pieces until crisp. Remove to a paper towel with a slotted spoon. Add the mushrooms to the bacon fat in the pan and fry until golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Season lightly with salt and set aside.
To poach the eggs, bring a saucepan with water to a depth of 2 inches to a gentle simmer. Add the vinegar. Break the eggs one at a time into a small bowl or ramekin and gently tip them into the water. Poach each egg for 3-4 minutes, until the white is cooked but the yolk is still runny. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl of warm lightly-salted water (or, if you're going to be serving them immediately, just to a plate).
Just before serving, toast the slices of bread and rub each one with the cut side of a garlic clove. Rewarm the sauce and whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Taste and correct the seasoning if needed.
To serve, place place two slices of bread on each plate. Top each one with a poached egg. Divide the sauce between the plates, and top with the fried mushrooms and bacon. Garnish with some fresh thyme and serve immediately.
Source: Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Vol I, by Julia Child

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