Thursday, February 26, 2015

Deep Dish Breakfast Casserole w/ Homemade Sausage and Sweet Peppers

These chilly winter months are a great time to procure homemade sausage from friends and local family farms. I was fortunate enough to do just that, and found the flavor profile very pleasing and past evoking.   My family made homemade sausage for many moons as I was growing up.  The aromas and absolute deliciousness resonates through my mind to this day.  I remember those fateful mornings, beginning around dawn with a blazing fire beneath the scalding tub, positioned perpendicular  to the expansive pen in which our livestock gorged and frolicked for months past.
  The men were responsible for the slaughter, cleaning and  breaking down of the animals, with the younger ones allowed to pitch  in on the sloughing off the hair and outer skin, after the protein had been submerged in the 'hot tub'.  We used this gadget that looked similar to a bell that would sit on your primary school teacher's desk, yet not as deep a bell, nor long a handle.  The women were responsible for grinding sausage and packaging .  The results were frozen to be enjoyed during the long winter months to come.  The hams and side meat was  hung in our custom hand-built cement smoke house to begin it's curing process and enjoyed weeks to months later.  Nothing was wasted however, the head would be smoked and cured , for the jowl.   The feet and ears were utilized as well.
 My favorite part of the evening was the actual sampling of the finished product.  My mother or one of my older sisters would bake a fresh batch of biscuits, brew fresh coffee, then fry wholesome and delicious cakes of the freshest and most delicious sausage, some hot, some mild.  A fried egg embellished the top of this unctuous labor of love and teamwork, a memory for which there is no substitute.  All the day's toils were well worth it, savoring each and every bite of an event which was indeed a whole year or two in the making.
My place in the kitchen had yet to come during those days of old.  I was only around 12 and under for those years that we kept our huge working garden and hogs.
This recipe is filled with the same type memories, only the labor was not that of our own.  The sweet peppers and cheddar cheese, prove complimentary to the savory and sage flecked country gold that is well seasoned and prepared homemade sausage.  This recipe produces 2 to 3 healthy serving portions that is completed simply with some fresh fruit.  Whole wheat sliced bread makes up the crusty and flavor filled bottom, providing a comfort from all four food groups in one amazing forkful!
1/2 lb. homemade sausage, hot or mild
1/4 c. diced sweet peppers
2 tbsp. diced onion
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, rough chopped
2 slices whole wheat bread
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 c. milk
1/4 tsp. ground sage
1/4 to 1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
dash of Sriracha, optional
Preheat oven  to 350*F.
Brown sausage over medium high heat, crumbling with a potato masher, drain.
Remove from heat and stir in peppers, onions, and parsley.
In a small bowl, beat eggs, milk, sage and Sriracha together.  SPST.
Butter 500 ml ramekin bottom and sides.
Cut slices of bread in half and press around lower sides and bottom.
Sprinkle with half of cheese.
Add sausage mixture.
Pour egg mixture atop.
Add remaining cheese.
Place in oven on baking sheet and bake until center is set, about 25 minutes.
The top may brown before middle is set, tent with foil.
Serves 2 to 3.

                I would like to give  posthumous  Happy Birthday shout-outs to my big brother Doug, whose birthday was yesterday the 25th and also to my dad Big Doug whose birthday is tomorrow the 27th..  You are both sorely missed and loved...