Eggs en cocotte with morel or porcini mushrooms

Sheer creamy unctuous indulgence. Melting yolk, cream and mushrooms, can anyone resist?

Serves4 Origin Europe
Preparation 10 min Heat rating (Mild)
Cooking 15 min Ease (Easy)
Vegetarian Yes

Ingredients

1 tsp Whole Nutmeg
4 large, very fresh eggs
10g fresh or dried morels or porcini/cèpe
3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
110 g dark-gilled flat mushrooms, roughly chopped
25g butter
salt and freshly milled black pepper
3 rounded tablespoons crème fraîche

Preparation

Start by soaking the morels or porcini about 30 minutes ahead of time. Place them in a bowl with 5 fl oz (150 ml) boiling water and leave them aside to soak. After that, strain them in a sieve and squeeze them to get rid of any surplus water. (You can reserve the soaking water, which can be frozen and is great for soups and sauces.) Set aside 4 pieces of the morels or porcini and put the rest in a food processor, along with the shallots, flat mushrooms, nutmeg and salt and freshly milled black pepper. Process until finely chopped.

Heat the butter in a small saucepan. When it starts to foam, add the chopped mushroom mixture and, keeping the heat low, let it cook very gently, without a lid, for 25-30 minutes; the idea is that any excess liquid will evaporate and leave a lovely, dark, concentrated mixture.

All this can be prepared in advance, but when you're ready to cook the eggs, start by pre-heating the oven 180°C and boil a kettle. Gently re-heat the mixture and, stirring in 1 rounded tablespoon of the crème fraîche or yoghurt, divide it between the ramekins, making a small indentation where the egg will be placed. Now break an egg into each one and season. Stir the rest of the crème fraîche or yoghurt around to loosen it, divide between the dishes, then spread it gently over the eggs using the back of the spoon or a small palette knife. Place a piece of the reserved morels or porcini on top of each ramekin, then place the ramekins in the baking tin, pop the tin on the centre shelf of the oven and add enough boiling water to the tin to come halfway up the sides of the dishes. Now let the eggs bake for 15 minutes if you like them soft and runny, or 18 minutes if you like them more set. Either way, bear in mind that they go on cooking in the dishes as they leave the oven and reach the table. These are lovely served with slices of wholemeal bread and butter.

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