If you've never tried cognac creamed mushrooms before, I suggest you do so soon. It's easily one of the world's best flavor combinations.
I happened to catch an episode of Jacque Pepin's show on PBS while TA and I were staying in temp lodging when we first moved to North Carolina. As he was putting together the creamed mushrooms I decided that it looked delicious and that I absolutely had to try this out.
Then I realized that I already had.
I had made a pasta sauce from scratch to enter in the Buitoni pasta contest - it's exactly the same ingredients. If you try the eggs and enjoy, you'll definitely love my wild mushroom agnolotti with cognac-cream sauce and baby pea shoots.
Even if I had already discovered this medley of deliciousness on my own, I still had to try Jacque Pepin's eggs. He's easily one of my favorite chefs - a pillar of the French culinary community - and definitely worth learning from. If culinary prowess could be measured (and I think it can) he would be worth approximately three Rachel's, 4 Paula's, both the Neely's, and about 14 Guy Fieri's.
My favorite thing about watching Pepin is his blase, French approach to everything in the kitchen. "Oh you're making a tart? Just put it in the oven at whatever temperature you think is best and then take it out when it's done."
I love it!
No recipes that have step-by-step instructions down to the amount of salt that should be used to season. How could someone else possibly know how much salt you like? Jacque Pepin realizes these things and in providing the inspiration and a few handy tips for pulling it off, he leaves it in, what he assumes are, your competent hands. The Food Network is ruining the originality and passion required for truly innovative cuisine. Without Alton Brown and Ina Garten their ship would've sunk years ago.
I altered the recipe a bit, so I'll post my version of it. The original is available here.
Eggs en Cocotte with Creamed Mushrooms
2 tablespoons shallot, minced
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
6 oz mushrooms, minced (about 2 cups)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoon's cognac
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 thick slices sourdough bread, cut into finger size sticks
1 tablespoon butter, melted
hard cheese for grating like Parmigiana Reggiano, Grana Padano, or Gruyere
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 F
Heat the shallot and oil in a small saucepan over high heat. When the mixture begins to sizzle, cook for about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes. Add cognac, mix well and then add the cream and bring to a boil. Boil over high heat for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes to reduce.
Divide the mixture in the saucepan among 4 small (1/2-cup) ramekins or other small molds. (The recipe may be prepared ahead to this point.)
Just before serving time, break an egg into each ramekin and arrange the ramekins in a saucepan that is deep enough so the pan lid fits on top to cover the ramekins while they are cooking. Pour enough water around the ramekins in the pan to extend about 1/2 inch up the sides. Bring to a boil, cover the pan (not the individual ramekins) and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the eggs are set but still a little runny. 5 minutes will produce runny yolks, 7 minutes will give nearly solid yolks.
Grate cheese over the top of the eggs and sprinkly with chopped parsley.
Meanwhile, brush the sticks of sourdough with melted butter and sprinkle with grated hard cheese. Bake for about 7 minutes until toasted and serve alongside the eggs for dipping in the yolks.
This is a nutritional estimate, regard it as such.
1 serving = 1 egg with mushrooms, not including bread for dipping
3 g carbohydrates
13 g fat
9 g protein