This past week we were snowed in on Sunday morning – so we used the time to gather everyone together to make a breakfast dish for our Food on Friday blog post.
The recipe came from the November 2011 Bon Appetit magazine – which we know has a great track record in this house – and is called the Potato, Sausage and Spinach Breakfast Casserole.
Do I have your attention now? Thought so.
I don’t know if it is up on their website yet – which has a terrific recipe search feature – but if not, you can follow along here. First we gather the ingredients.
You will need about one pound of thawed frozen spinach so you should start that thawing in some lukewarm water right away. They say to chop it but we bought it already chopped so that saved a step.
We pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees. You will need a 12 inch cast iron or nonstick ovenproof skillet for this. I wasn’t sure it would all fit into a 12 inch skillet but it did. If you increase the amounts of anything, you will need a bigger skillet.
Next we divided up jobs. Markus was in charge of breaking and beating 16 eggs with one and one quarter cups of heavy cream, one and a half tsps. of kosher salt and a little black pepper. (sorry – the font in this program is lousy for typing numbers much less fractions and as usual, my lack of techno savvy keeps me from figuring out how to fix it – sigh).
I peeled two large russet potatoes (about one and a half pounds total weight) and Jesse grated them.
and then he squeezed all the excess fluid out of the grated potatoes.
Vash was on leek duty – and sliced 6 leeks . . .
keeping only the white and pale green parts for the meal.
The recipe calls for 2 cups – we just wing it.
I started cooking 12 ozs. of fresh breakfast sausage links in a tablespoon of butter in the cast iron skillet – turning until they were browned all over. It takes about 10 minutes.
Then we took those out, put them on a plate and then added the leeks – cooking them until they were wilted. About 5 minutes.
They pick up some of the brown bits and flavor from the sausage. Then these come out and the fun part starts – making the bottom crust of the casserole.
You melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the skillet and then press in your grated potatoes – covering the bottom of your skillet as evenly as possible.
Don’t stir it. Leave it alone until the bottom is brown and so are the edges. This takes about 10 minutes. Don’t burn it.
Then take your spatula and gently lift the edges and then loosen the entire potato pancake in the skillet. Then you lift the skillet and slide your potato pancake onto a large dinner plate. Take a second dinner plate, put it on the top of the pancake and then flip it.
Now we start building our casserole. First, squeeze any excess water out of your spinach and layer that onto the potato crust. Add the sauteed leeks on top of that and then add your sausage links. The recipe did not call for them to be cut, and they cut easily with a fork so it was okay leaving them in full links – but if you wanted to I am sure you could slice the links first and they would be a little easier to eat.
Then pour your scrambled eggs on top of this.
Next the recipe called for 4 ozs of Gruyere cheese and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. I don’t like Gruyere cheese so we left that out and went a little heavier on the Parmesan.
Then the whole kit and kaboodle went into the oven. Here is how it looked after 35 minutes.
While we thought this was ready, when we cut into it it was still runny inside, so it went back into the oven for another 10 minutes and then it was fine. So I would suggest checking it around 35 minutes if your stove runs hot but presume it will take about 45 minutes.
45 minutes worked just fine for my family
who were actually too busy eating to smile for the camera. I guess that’s a good thing.
My thought on this recipe is that it is not something to make if you need to make something quick for company because of the time to cook each separate layer and then bake the entire thing. Plus I think the flavor of the sausage tends to overpower the other flavors – though the spinach did a pretty good job of holding its own. The potatoes get lost in this meal because the crust layer is just too thin in each bite. So I guess I am saying that I prefer to make a spinach leek and cheese omelet with hashbrowns and sausage so all the flavors get a chance to shine. Chip liked this because he was able to keep reheating slices during the week (yes, there was so much that we even had leftovers) and had a hearty breakfast for mornings after without the work. Vash loved it. Markus not so much.
So that is this week’s recipe. I have not decided on next week’s yet. Maybe a good soup – though the boys are rallying behind a dessert. Another parfait would be great by them.
Now to figure out Thanksgiving. Good thing I have lots of helping hands.