I know, I know, it’s not healthiest way to start your day, but my oh my, English breakfast is delicious. Also, the feeling of well being a complete English breakfast permeates is something to behold. And, really, if you just had this feast every few months or so, I don’t think you’ll come to much harm. Now, if you’re going to do it, go for it! The works. You’ll be pleased you didâ€”we always are. I recently served this up this Brit Breakfast for friends as a brunchy-lunchy affair and it went down like a treat.
And it’s not hard to do! My plan of action enables you to serve everything together without freaking about cooking times. And I’ve included one or two do-ahead tips so that you can serve A Brit Breakfast without the aid of a jumbo sized paella pan.
Apart from the edibles, you’ll need a couple of cookie sheets with with non-stick aluminum foil, and two skillet pans.
Set the oven to 325F, and let’s start!
Oven hash browns
Chop up a few red spuds into quarter-size pieces, add a chopped up an onion, toss in a little olive oil, add a little salt, pepper, herbs, then spread on a baking sheet. Pop into the oven and, as my dad would say, â€œFinish!â€ Takes 25 minutes but can stay in the oven longer.
In the Prodigal household, we all like our eggs differently, I like wet egg dishes, the ladies in my life prefer them more well-cooked, Prodigal Wife abhors fried eggs. One could cook eggs separately but I have no desire to run a restaurant when I should be running a breakfast party. So, for a group of friends, I make scrambled (in photo) or go for an eggy dish like this…
For six guests, figure one egg and a bit per person. In other words 8-10 eggs. Beat up on your eggs. Add salt, pepper, herbs if you want, 2 tablespoons of cream or milk. In a pan that can be transferred to the oven, lightly sautÃ© a sliced onion and perhaps a green pepper, if you like pepper, Add a handful of grated cheddar, pour over the egg mixture to combine in the pan and cook over medium flame. Add another spoonful of cream. Stir gently for a minute or two. Turn off the heat, put a plate over the mixture. Put on oven mitts. Now turn pan and plate over. Slide the uncooked side of your omelet back into the pan. Then pop the pan into the oven with your other breakfast goodies. The eggs will set up and can remain gently finishing in the oven 20-25 minutes, time enough to hug and slug a little shampers with friends. Serve the omelet on a platter and cut it up into cake-like wedges. The omelet will be cooked though for the squeamish among but the onion, cheese, cream mixture will help keep the dish pleasantly moist. Nextâ€¦
Use Brit bacon if you can find it, or US fatty bacon, just as good. Not Canadian bacon because you need the fat. Figure 2 strips per person.
Pre-cook the bacon until it is soft cooked and crinkly, not crispy, and the fat is rendered. Place on the cookie sheet and cover with a little of the foil, this will continue to cook and crisp up in the oven. Now you’ll have a pan with all that naughty bacon fat in which you will cook…
Forget â€œbreakfast linksâ€! Search out English or Irish-style bangers or pork sausages made by your local butcher. But not Italian ones, spices are wrong. One banger per person.
Pricks the bangers and whiz them up in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Now brown them gently for 2-3 minutes in the pan, then pop them onto the baking sheet alongside the bacon, where they will finish cooking. By the way, finishing sausages in the oven is actually better than just pan frying them.
Use button or porcini mushrooms. SautÃ© in the pan for just a couple of minutes until they take a tad of color, then transfer to cookie sheet.
Cut through your toms as you would serve a grapefruit half. In other words, don’t cut from north to south but, rather, around the tomato’s equator. Pop in the pan cut side down, leave for a couple of minutes. Once the toms start to catch or brown turn over and transfer to your cookie sheet with all your other breakfast treasures! Grilled or fried toms are wonderful. If you’ve never tried them. You are in for a culinary treat. Not to be missed. Most guests will eat one tomato half, I usually make one extra in case (so 4 tomatoes for 6 guests).
At this point your skillet pan might still have just a tad of bacon fat and delicious residue from all those things that you have pre-cooked. So why waste it,? I think it’s time for…
Use Texas Toast or regular sliced, store-bought stuff. Don’t waste good country bread on this one. If the pan looks a little dry then add a knob of butter to it. Dip in the bread slices. Let them absorb a little of the fat and juices in the pan, then remove and put into the toaster. This way, the bread isn’t too naughty and the slices don’t get soggy but remain crisp and flavorful. Once they pop in the toaster, loose wrap in foil and transfer to the oven until you’re ready to serve.
Now open a can of baked beans and bring to a gentle bubble on the stove top. An essential part of English breakfast, and not to be forgotten.
After 25 minutes of oven time, rescue the eggs and transfer to the stove top, covered. Here they will keep warm and happily reside until you’ve finished your mimosa, or Bucks Fizz as it is called in England.
You must have Ketchup and Worcester Sauce. And do serve lots of hot buttered toast and marmalade, which is quite lovely to munch on at the end of the meal and goes so well with tea. Prior to the big fry-up you could start the repast with grilled kippers or Gentleman’s Relish on toast. Well, I would — if I lived alone! Failing that, grapefruit segments, orange juice, or better yet the above mentioned mimosas would be perfect to start.
Let’s tuck in!
This breakfast is really an adaptation of the old fashioned chafing dish breakfast, the kind of repast that once graced sideboards in country houses throughout the shires of England. The good thing about â€œchaffedâ€ food is that everything cooks slowly, the flavors co-mingle, and nothing gets overcooked.
And best of all, most of it, if not all of it, can be done in advance. In fact, if people are running late, just cover everything with foil and keep in your oven on low. When you serve up, put everything on platters which you have cleverly kept warm in the bottom of the oven. Let everyone help themselves. And they will!
At feast’s end, don’t forget to serve up hot teaâ€”with milk of course. It’s a must! The tea will help melt the fat and relax the arteries. Ho, ho! Mind you, if you’re feeling exceedingly guilty, take a brisk walk afterwards. Personally, I’d rather rev up for a nap!