Eggs and Sausage Gravy

I often crave biscuits and gravy for breakfast, but I’m no baker and usually don’t have the time (or inclination) to whip up a batch of biscuits from scratch. By substituting English muffins for biscuits and slapping a soft-cooked egg on top (just because I can) I turned this into a no-muss, no-fuss breakfast that I can make whenever the mood strikes.

4 eggs
2 gluten-free English muffins, toasted (I like Food for Life)
1 pound pork breakfast sausage
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons gluten-free baking mix
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Do not drain. Add the baking mix and cook over low heat for 5 minutes until it starts to form a roux and begins to brown.

Remove pan from heat and stir in the milk a little at a time. Scrape the bottom to get up any brown bits. Return to medium-high heat and stir occasionally until gravy comes to a simmer and starts to thicken, about 10 minutes. Add the hot sauce, salt, and black pepper and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low.

In a non-stick fry pan, fry the eggs over medium heat until the whites start to set. Cover the pan with a lid and let cook for another minute or so until the yolks have just started to set.

Egg and Gravy
Gooey, yolky, hot saucy – yummmmmmm!

Ladle gravy over warm muffins and top with the eggs. Splash with additional hot sauce as needed.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
The English muffins aren’t quite as decadent as biscuits, but the soft egg makes up for it. The big plus is that I can have this on the table in under 20 minutes.

Corned Beef Hash

I’m a sucker for real corned beef hash. Not the crap in the cans, but the stuff you get at some roadside diner where the waitress serves your cuppa joe in those stocky white mugs, the short-order cook has a tattoo that says “Mom”, and you can order breakfast all day long.

2 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
6 ounces diced corned beef (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 eggs
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon kosher salt

You’ll need a medium non-stick skillet with a lid. Heat the oil in the pan over medium heat. Fill the pan with alternating layers of potatoes, corned beef, onion, and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper.  Press mixture to flatten with spatula. Cook uncovered until bottom begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Flip and flatten again. Continue to cook, flipping every 5 minutes, until hash is mostly browned and the onion and bell pepper are tender (about 10 – 15 minutes).

With the back of a spoon, make 4 shallow wells in the hash for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the wells, pour the water into the middle of the hash, and cover with the lid.

Let cook until the egg whites are set, but the yolks are still runny (my favorite), about 5 minutes.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Eating these I could almost hear the ring of the “order’s up” bell – crispy hash browns with tender bits of corned beef and all that lovely yolk oozing over top – perfect!

What Eggs are Supposed to Look Like

I have an “egg connection” who gets us free-range, organic eggs from a 4-H student for next to nothing. She hauls half a dozen cartons up whenever she comes to visit.  I’d gotten so used to the uniformly-white, all-one-size ones that I forgotten what real eggs look like. Look at this glorious dozen! Every one of them looks like it came out of a different chicken’s butt – small to extra-large, mottled brown to almost a pale rose, rough pebbled shells and silky-smooth ones too.

And look at this yolk – high, thick, and deep yellow. This is what you get from chickens who get to peck and scratch and eat grasshoppers (well, when they’re in season, anyway ;)). It’ll be a real shame when the kid graduates and we have to go back to tasty, but boring organic eggs from the store.

Gringo Huevos

Huevos Rancheros is one of my favorite meals – a big plate of eggs and tortillas simmered in salsa and smothered in cheese. This is my lame, bachelor-for-the-weekend version that I make when my dear wife is out of town.

Heat a glug or so of oil in a fry pan. Add a couple of handfuls of stale tortilla chips (or leftover nachos from the night before). When the chips start to sizzle, douse with salsa. Make 2 or 3 shallow wells in salsa with back of large spoon. Drop an egg into each well. Cover with shredded cheese and put a lid on the pan.

The eggs are done when the whites are set and the yolks are still runny – about 5 minutes. Load onto a plate and top with a couple of globs of sour cream and plenty of hot sauce.  Yummmm, man food!

Ricotta Frittata

The only thing better than bacon and eggs? Bacon and eggs blended with creamy ricotta cheese, of course.

6 eggs
5 strips bacon, diced
1 small bunch fresh parsley, diced (about 4 tablespoons)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

In a medium skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the cooked bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the pan into a pint jar and refrigerate (see In Praise of Bacon Grease for uses).

In a medium bowl, combine the bacon, eggs, ricotta, parsley, cream, salt, and a couple of grinds of pepper.

Pour the egg mixture back into the skillet. Cook the frittata on the stove top over medium heat until the eggs start to set, about 5 minutes. Top with the Parmesan cheese. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until firm, about 10 to 15 minutes.