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Have you ever dreamt of starting your day with a hearty, traditional English Breakfast, but felt intimidated by its array of components? Well, it’s time to turn that dream into reality!
Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to cook an English Breakfast. This guide is designed to take you on a culinary journey through one of Britain’s most iconic meals. We’ll demystify the process, breaking it down into easy-to-follow steps that will make cooking an English Breakfast a breeze, even for beginners.
So, whether you’re a seasoned cook looking to try something new, or you’re simply craving a taste of England in your own kitchen, this guide is for you. Let’s embark on this delicious adventure together and start our day the English way!
What is an English Breakfast?
An English Breakfast, often referred to as a “Full English,” is a traditional British meal that typically consists of a hearty spread of various dishes. The classic components of an English Breakfast include:
- Bacon: Traditionally back bacon, which is less fatty than the streaky bacon commonly found in the US.
- Sausages: British-style bangers are the usual choice.
- Eggs: Usually fried, but can also be scrambled or poached.
- Black Pudding: A type of blood sausage, unique to the UK.
- Baked Beans: A staple in an English Breakfast, providing a sweet and tangy contrast.
- Tomatoes and Mushrooms: Usually grilled or fried.
- Toast or Fried Bread: To mop up the delicious juices.
- Tea or Coffee: To wash it all down.
History of the English Breakfast
The tradition of the English Breakfast dates back to the early 19th century in England, during the Victorian era. It was a symbol of prosperity and a way for the English gentry to show off their wealth, as only those with money could afford such a lavish spread of food.
The English Breakfast was also seen as a hearty meal that would provide fuel for a hard day’s work, making it popular among the working class as well. Over time, it has become a staple of British cuisine, enjoyed by people of all walks of life.
Today, the English Breakfast is not just confined to breakfast time. It’s often served all day in pubs and restaurants across the UK and has gained popularity worldwide as a quintessentially British dish.
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- Cold water, for cooking potatoes
- 1½ tablespoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 top sirloin steak (about ¾ pound)
- 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- ½ small yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 cup multi-colored cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- Add the potatoes to a large pot and fill with enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Season with 1½ teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 5 minutes, then drain and run under cold water to stop the potatoes from cooking further. Dry the potatoes with paper towels and set aside.
- Place a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Blot the steak dry with a paper towel and season on both sides with 1½ teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper.
- Heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet over high heat until smoking. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and the canola oil to the pan and melt the butter completely about 1 minute. Add the seasoned steak and cook, without disturbing, for 2 minutes on each side. The steak will be rare, but will finish cooking in the oven. Transfer to a cutting board to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing into ¼-inch strips.
- Reduce the heat to medium and melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the same skillet. Add the onion, mushrooms, red bell pepper, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are slightly caramelized and the mushrooms have released their liquid, 8–10 minutes.
- Add the potatoes to the skillet and season with the remaining teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and the oregano. Stir to combine and cook, without disturbing, for 4 minutes, until the potatoes are golden brown and crisp on one side. Add the cherry tomatoes and stir to combine.
- Make 4 wells in the hash using the back of a spoon and carefully crack an egg into each well.
- Scatter the sliced steak on top of the hash and transfer to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes or until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny.
- Remove the hash from the oven and season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Garnish with the parsley.
- Serve warm and enjoy your English Breakfast!
Eggs are a key ingredient in an English Breakfast. They are a versatile food that can be cooked in various ways - fried, scrambled, or poached. In this recipe, we'll be using them to create a delicious and hearty steak and eggs hash. Eggs are delicious and a great source of high-quality protein and various essential nutrients.
Tips and Tricks
- Cooking the steak: Searing the steak on high heat helps to create a delicious crust on the outside while keeping the inside tender and juicy.
- Cooking the eggs: Making wells in the eggs’ hash helps keep them in place while they cook.
- Serving: An English Breakfast is traditionally served with a cup of hot tea or coffee. You can also serve it with a side of toast and marmalade or jam for a complete meal.
- Adjusting the recipe: Feel free to add or substitute ingredients based on your preference. For example, you can add baked beans or replace the steak with bacon or sausages.
An English Breakfast is traditionally served on a large plate with each component of the meal clearly visible. The eggs, steak, and hash can be arranged on one side, with the mushrooms, tomatoes, and bell peppers on the other. The presentation should be hearty and inviting, reflecting the comforting nature of the meal.
As for beverages, an English Breakfast is typically paired with a hot cup of English tea or coffee. Some people also enjoy a glass of fresh orange juice for a refreshing contrast to the rich meal.
While the components of an English Breakfast can vary slightly depending on personal preference, there are also regional variations across the UK:
- Full Scottish Breakfast: This includes traditional English breakfast items but also features Scottish favorites like haggis and tattie scones (potato scones).
- Full Irish Breakfast: Similar to the English version, but with the addition of white pudding and soda bread.
- Welsh Breakfast: This version often includes laverbread (a seaweed delicacy) and Welsh cockles.
Remember, the beauty of an English Breakfast lies in its versatility. Feel free to adapt the meal to suit your tastes and dietary needs. Whether you prefer your eggs scrambled or fried, or want to swap out the steak for bacon or sausages, the most important thing is to enjoy your meal.