Fennel Breakfast Sausage

Another recipe!  Yay!

We’ve taken the last two weeks off from work, and considering the fact we haven’t had a real vacation since we got married (6 years ago today – Happy Anniversary Jan and Beloved), we really, really needed it.  Having all this time off has given us plenty of time to do wildly fun things like clean the garage,  stack 2/3 of a cord of firewood we had delivered, clean out one of our freezers and pressure can massive amounts of chicken and beef bone broths.

We live on the wild side, we do.

At any rate, it’s also given me the time (and more importantly, the motivation) to do some actual cooking.

When we first began buying whole, humanely raised, antibiotic-free hogs (has it been nearly 4 years?  It has), we had a good portion of the ground pork made into fresh sausage.  While the sausage blends that Whitefeather Meats offers are just delicious (I’m especially fond of their chorizo and hot Italian sausages), it does cost extra on top of the normal processing fees and you’re limited as to what kind of sausage you have in your freezer.

It took me two hogs to decided to get all of the ground portions of our hogs as just plain ground pork.  That way, I have plenty of unseasoned meat for things like burgers and meatloaves, and when I’m in the mood for a certain kind of fresh sausage, all I have to do is mix it up.  Really, it’s hardly any more trouble than opening a package and you control the ingredients you use, as well as the proportions.

I made this as part of our brunch New Year’s morning and boy, oh, boy – it is some of the best breakfast sausage we’ve had lately.  It is just so good!  In fact, while we were scarfing it down, Beloved said, “You know…this would be really good on a pizza.”  Like most men, he loves pizza, but he’s right – if you’re inclined to eat a pizza with sausage on it, this would be a marvelous choice.  It would also make a pretty darn good base for a meatzza, as well.

If you don’t eat pork, this would work well with ground turkey or lamb.  Omit the maple syrup, which is optional, and it’s Whole30 compliant, too.

Fennel Breakfast Sausage. Making your own breakfast sausage at home couldn't be easier; this sweet and savory version is just delicious.

Click the image to enlarge

Fennel Breakfast Sausage
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and gently mix. Using your hands, form the sausage into eight 2-inch patties.
  2. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Lightly fry the sausage until browned and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.
  3. Nutrition (per serving): 329 calories, 24.2g total fat, 81.7mg cholesterol, 770.6mg sodium, 371.1mg potassium, 7.7g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 6.1g sugar, 19.4g protein

Migas

Well, hello there.

If you’re wondering if I’d fallen off the edge of the earth, you’re not alone – I’ve been wondering that myself.  But no, just extremely busy (more on that tomorrow).

I’d mentioned a bit earlier that ever since The Young One has been off to college, I hadn’t felt much like cooking.  Or at least cooking anything worthy of a blog post; most of it’s been either recipes I’ve posted before, or stuff so simple that you could hardly call it “cooking.”  A lot of it couldn’t even remotely be considered “paleo” (but again, more on that tomorrow).

At any rate, I have prepared a few things worthy of a photograph and blog post – this is one of them.

My first husband was (is, I suppose, since he’s still living) Hispanic, and his grandmother was one of the finest cooks I’ve had the privilege to have known.  It was she who introduced me to authentic Mexican cuisine, rather than the Tex-Mex I’d grown up with, and her handmade tortillas, refried beans, menudo, and caldo de res were beyond compare.  I couldn’t wait for the holidays every year, when she and my mother-in-law would crank out enormous batches of tamales, both sweet and savory, and the buñuelos she made us as a treat for New Years were the best I, or probably anyone else, have ever tasted.

And she introduced me to Migas.

In the Mexican-American household – or at least, her Mexican-American household – Migas is a simple dish of eggs scrambled together with bite-size pieces of corn tortillas, and I loved it from the first time I took a bite.  Having said that, it occurred to me when I made this particular recipe that I hadn’t eaten it in over 25 years.  You see, when I was pregnant with Darling Daughter (in 1986 – yeah, I’m that old), migas was one of those things that, for no good reason I could tell, just turned my stomach – I simply couldn’t eat it. (Pregnancy will often play horrible tricks like that on you.)  I re-entered the workforce when she was about 6 months old, and I guess it just never occurred to me to ever cook it again.  I don’t know why.

Fast forward to a couple of days after Christmas.  Jolly and The G Man had spent Christmas Eve with us, and I had made Mexican for dinner, which included beef and cheese enchiladas.  (Hey, it was our Christmas Eve dinner – we could eat what we liked.  And we did.)  So, here I was, left with half a package of corn tortillas sitting in my fridge, softly calling to me, “Here we are…are you going to let us go bad?’

The answer to that would be, “No.”  And Migas, which Beloved had never eaten before, was the result.

Ironically, this version is a gussied-up, restaurant-style, Tex-Mex version of the simple dish Grandma taught me, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious.  You can, of course, make it with just the eggs and tortillas, but the addition of the vegetables is just wonderful.  You can also leave out the cheese and half and half for a dairy-free version, or you can leave out the tortillas if you’re avoiding grains.  It won’t be Migas without them, of course, but it’ll still be pretty darn good.

Migas. Simple Tex-Mex comfort food at its finest.

Click the image to enlarge

Migas
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 8 corn tortillas, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the eggs and half and half until well blended; set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften and the onion turns translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the jalapeno and cook for another minute more.
  3. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pan. Stir the tortillas into the vegetable mixture and cook for one minute; pour in the egg mixture and stir gently to combine. Reduce the heat slightly and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the eggs are softly scrambled. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then gently stir in the tomatoes.
  4. Divide the Migas between 4 plates; top each with cheese and serve immediately.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 479 calories, 30.8g total fat, 430.2mg cholesterol, 350.2mg sodium, 457mg potassium, 27.7g carbohydrates, 4.3g fiber, 3.8g sugar, 23.7g protein

Lamb Sausage

Here’s something for my non-pork eating readers.

This recipe is the result of an accident – I meant to take ground pork out of the freezer for some homemade sausage, and grabbed a package of ground lamb instead.

What can I say? They look a lot alike when raw.

At any rate, I decided to see how the lamb would do as breakfast sausage, and all I can say is I was not disappointed.  Lamb, especially ground lamb, has a pretty strong taste that carries bold flavors really well, so I spiced this up with some garlic, rosemary and roasted fennel seeds.  And since the lamb was a bit drier than ground pork, I added a little olive oil to the mix, as well.

I was really pleased with the results, and Beloved simply wolfed it down, he liked it so much.  It was a nice change from your standard pork or turkey sausage.

This mixture would work well as meatballs or as part of a nice Mediterranean meat sauce, too.

Lamb Sausage. Homemade sausage is so easy - why stick with pork and turkey?  Spice up some lamb with the bold flavors of rosemary and fennel.

Click the image to enlarge

Lamb Sausage
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, roasted and crushed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, gently mix all of the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  2. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat. Form the sausage into 8 patties of equal size, taking care not to overwork the mixture. Working in batches if necessary, cook the patties about 4 minutes per side or until the sausage is browned on the outside and just cooked through.
  3. Nutrition (per serving): 262 calories, 18.8g total fat, 76mg cholesterol, 653mg sodium, 315.6mg potassium, <1g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, <1g sugar, 21.3g protein

Ham and Cheese Quiche

You know, I could get used to this empty nest thing.  It was kind of nice this weekend; we picked up our eggs as well as a double share of our CSA Saturday morning (we are flying to Vegas to visit Darling Daughter Thursday afternoon and won’t be able to get the last share of the season) and spent most of Saturday afternoon and early evening processing what will freeze/can/keep well.

Sunday we did a whole lot of nothing, if you can count watching movies and television (we started Orange is the New Black on Netflix) and crocheting “nothing.”  I did make us a late brunch, which consisted of the last watermelon of the season (“G always tells me, ‘No seeds in my watermelon, Meema!'” “That’s because Papa hasn’t taught him how to spit them yet”), zucchini fritters with homemade ketchup, and this recipe.

Not the most innovative meal I’ve ever made, but the quiche?  She is delicious.  And pretty darn easy to boot – what more could you ask for?

This has a ton of dairy in it – I used vat-pasteurized, non-homogenized whole milk with a great deal of the cream in it (which is why the recipe calls for half and half) and some beautiful aged, raw milk cheddar.  My sinuses weren’t happy about it later, but it was well worth it.  You can, of course, leave out the cheese and substitute full-fat coconut milk and it will still be quite good, as well as Whole30 compliant if your ham has no added sugars or nitrates.

Ham and Cheese Quiche. Ham and cheese are a perfect combination, especially paired with onions, leeks, peppers and made into a delicious, crustless quiche!

Click the image to enlarge

Ham and Cheese Quiche
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup cubed cooked ham
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously butter a 10″ deep dish pie plate.
  2. Melt the ghee or butter in a large sauté pan over medium low heat and cook the onion and leek until soft and fragrant; stir in the bell pepper and ham. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, salt and pepper until well blended. Set aside.
  4. Spread the onion and ham mixture over the bottom of the buttered pie plate and scatter the cheese evenly over the top. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pie plate and carefully transfer to the oven (the dish will be very full).
  5. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until nicely browned on top and a knife inserted in the center of the quiche comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 348 calories, 26.6g total fat, 251.6mg cholesterol, 1039.4mg sodium, 336mg potassium, 9.1g carbohydrates, 1.5g fiber, 2.6g sugar, 18.2g protein

Breakfast Enchiladas

Well, hello there.

Yes, I’m back.  I didn’t post last week at all; I just couldn’t find the energy/time/inclination to do so.  It’s been a really strange, stressful summer – thank goodness it’s almost over.  I’d like to say it IS over and had fully planned to come back today with a post announcing I’d gotten my mojo back, but several unbloggable events over the course of the weekend, and the fact that I’m fighting off a particularly nasty stomach bug, have made me hesitant to think that, much less say it.

I’d really, really like to put this all past me – I’ll tell you what I can tomorrow – so I’m going to go ahead and act as if I have.  Fake it till you make it, and all that.

So.  The Young One came home for Labor Day weekend and after discovering that because he doesn’t want to get up early enough to actually go eat breakfast and had spent the week scarfing down Pop Tarts every morning (see?  THIS is what I’d been worrying about), I decided to send him back to school with an armload of breakfast tacos that he could microwave in the morning before making his zombie-like way to class.

It was a good strategy, but it left me with a dozen corn tortillas once I’d made enough tacos to stuff the freezer portion of his mini-fridge with something that resembled actual food.  Now, I like a good breakfast taco as much as the next person, I suppose, but why make tacos when you can make enchiladas?

So I did.

And they were muy bueno.

I am, in fact, lucky I got any at all, considering the way Beloved sucked them down.  Even the leftovers.

Please note that you don’t want the eggs to be completely cooked when scrambling, because they are going to cook some more once they go into the oven.  I’ve also included directions for softening the tortillas in the microwave before filling, as opposed to the traditional method of softening them in lard or oil, in an attempt to keep the calorie count somewhere in the realm of reasonable – and this isn’t a low calorie dish to begin with.

It is, however, a really nice occasional indulgence that is great served with fresh fruit and maybe even a Bellini. 😉

Note:  This can be assembled the prior evening and refrigerated overnight, so all you have to do is bake it in the morning.  Also, if you make your enchilada sauce with olive oil and vegetable stock, as opposed to lard and chicken stock, this will be vegetarian friendly, too.

Breakfast Enchiladas. Perfect for Sunday brunch, this easy-to-make casserole can be assembled the night before.

Click the image to enlarge

Breakfast Enchiladas
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 recipe [url href=”http://www.janssushibar.com/enchilada-sauce/” target=”_blank”]Enchilada Sauce[/url]
  • 12 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium poblano chile, seeded and diced
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large, heavy skillet melt the butter over medium-low heat and cook the onion, bell pepper and poblano chile until the vegetables are soft and the onion is golden.
  3. Increase the heat slightly and add the beaten eggs to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until the eggs are softly scrambled, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Wrap the tortillas in a large, clean kitchen towel and microwave for 30 seconds. Turn the bundle over and microwave for another 30 seconds.
  5. Working quickly and carefully, fill the tortillas with the egg mixture and roll into a cylinder shape; place each enchilada seam-side down in a large glass baking dish. Pour the enchilada sauce evenly over the enchiladas and top with the cheese.
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the eggs are completely set.
  7. Serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired.
  8. Nutrition (per serving): 545 calories, 30g total fat, 418.4mg cholesterol, 495.2mg sodium, 828.1mg potassium, 43.1g carbohydrates, 6.2g fiber, 9.4g sugar, 27g protein