Eggs en Cocotte

I've only just begun practicing my hand at French cooking. I'm no Julia child, but I do know one thing...If I have to spend the rest of my days practicing the craft by eating butter-smeared baguette, dipping the crusty parts in slow-simmered boeuf bourguignon, sipping Côtes du Rhône, and eating éclair's with cream that's been whipped into submission than I will be the happiest little dame there ever was. 

I'll never forget my first meal in Paris. My fellow study abroader's and I thought we were instantly distinguished and sophisticated the second our feet hit French soil, so for our first meal we weren't going to put up with eating cheap "touristy" food. We wandered down a little cobblestone alleyway, just like you would imagine in a movie, and came up to La Butte Aux Piafs. The cutest little restaurant that you ever did see. We ate escargot on top of warm baguette, lamb shanks that practically melted in your mouth, and we polished it off with crème brûlée. After that night we quickly realized that our wallets couldn't handle our stomach's desires. But for those three short blissful hours sitting in that restaurant, you probably never saw a brood quite as fat and happy as us. You can read more about it in this post!

I yearn for the day Thomas and I can travel back to France together. I picture lounging on a airy balcony looking over the French Riviera, eating so much cheese and drinking more wine than our little hearts could ever desire. Or sitting outside at a bistro in Paris sipping on espresso's and swooning over pain au chocolat's. At least that's the way I picture it in my head...but until that day I will happily keep practicing the art of French cooking out of our kitchen in whatever part of the world we are in. 

Eggs en cocotte. Let me tell you about this little dish of heaven. "En cocotte" means to steam in a small dish or ramekin! How cute is that?! Eggs are a huge part of French Cuisine. Chef Jacques Pepin actually judges up-and-comers on how well they can make an omelette! 
Shallots, mushrooms, and spinach sautéed with butter and garlic and then reduced down with cream makes up the base of this dreamy breakfast. If you're like us, you'll want to keep the yolks oh-so-runny and soak up every drop with toasted baguette. Feelin' French yet?

Eggs en Cocotte
serves 2
ingredients
- 8 oz (227 g) of mushrooms, sliced (whichever variety you prefer)
-1 tablespoon of butter
-1 shallot, finely chopped
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-2 big handfuls of spinach
-1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy cream
-4 large eggs
-fresh grated parmesan
-salt & pepper to taste
-Toasted sliced baguette

what to do
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 celsius) 
2)Heat up a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Wait until the pan is hot before adding the mushrooms. Let them cook without stirring too often until they are brown and have sweat out a majority of their water. Do not add the butter until after the mushrooms have browned!
3) Turn the heat down to medium and add a tablespoon of butter to the browned mushrooms. Add the shallots and cook down until softened, about 3 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook just until fragrant. 
4) Add in your handfuls of spinach and drizzle with a little olive oil and sauté until they wilt down a little. Pour in the cream and reduce the mixture down until most of the liquid has evaporated and the cream has thickened. 
5) In individual ramekins or oven-proof dishes, scoop the mushroom mixture into each. Top each dish with two large eggs and sprinkle with salt and pepper and grated cheese. 
6) Place ramekins in a baking dish and transfer to oven. Carefully pour enough boiling water into baking dish to submerge ramekins 3/4 of the way. Bake eggs en cocotte until whites are just set and yolks are still jiggly, about 12-15 minutes depending on how runny you like your yolks! 
7) Slice baguette and brush slices with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and toast under the broiler until golden brown.  

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Linking up this week with Buns in my Oven for What's Cookin' Wednesday!