Friday, October 4, 2013

Rustic Breakfast

Hi everyone,

I had to stop myself from hipster trolling and adding "artisanal" into the title of this post. Everything in NYC these days is "artisanal," which really just means "someone made this" in 99% of the word's occurrences. Whether the following breakfast dish is artisanal or not, I'll leave to your judgment. My job here is to focus on the food, and hopefully make you want to try it out for yourself. It's really hard and takes a lot of practice (HAH).

It's been a long time since I talked about breakfast on my blog, but given that I'm a hungry morning person who needs a good breakfast, I think it's about time. I will say though, that as much as I love breakfast and eating in the morning, it's less for me about the breakfast foods than the fact that I can eat as soon as I wake up. When I was little and growing up with an amazing Puerto Rican mom who made amazing Puerto Rican food, my favorite breakfast was often last night's leftovers: pork chops, arroz y habichuelas, spicy spaghetti with Italian sausage, and more. So today's breakfast meal is not for the faint of gut. It's hearty, filling, and will definitely stick to your ribs in a very non-Chobani-and-granola kind of way. And it couldn't be more delicious. So behold, breakfast bread bowls:

A savory, cheesey, meaty, bready, delicious combination. What more do you need? THIS is the breakfast of champions! It's been over a year since I these, and I can't believe I've withheld them from y'all for so long! This is a great thing to make if you're having people overnight, or for a brunch gathering. You can prep several of the ingredients ahead of time so that you can just assemble in the morning--like a choose-your-own-adventure.

My college roommate and fellow eating enthusiast made this when we were going through the crazy week that was graduation. The dining halls were closed, and we decided to treat ourselves, so to speak. And what better way than this breakfast? (It was too early for wine.)

So, we took the T down to to the local Shaw's and picked up a few things the night before. You can use whatever you'd like in these bread bowls that you think will go well with bread and cheese and egg. So, EVERYTHING.

We chose:

2 small soup bowl bread rolls (they're roughly 6" in diameter)
Any green herb like basil or parsley for freshness
Onions (any)
Parmesan cheese

Being broke soon-to-be-graduates, we decided to skip tomatoes, though I would absolutely do some sliced cherry tomatoes if I did this again. She had frozen Italian meatballs in the freezer, so we decided to use those up, too. However, next time I make these I'm totally going to my local meat shop to get some handmade spicy Italian sausage. Yum!

39th & 9th

The actual making of these bowls takes a little bit of forethought, which naturally we thought about right before making. Recommended order is below:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350° before you start.  
  2. Cook up your onions, mushrooms, and meat (together in a pan is fine). Leave the mushrooms meat just cooked through so that they won't overcook in the oven.
  3. Slice the tops off your bread bowls about 3/4 of the way up, then carve out with a spoon. The spare bread could make good croutons or be used in a bread pudding. Just don't carve too much bread, otherwise you won't have much to absorb the amazing mix of juices that will come out when baking.
  4. Spread olive oil, salt, and pepper around the inside of the bread bowl.
  5.  Assemble your bread bowl as a mix, not as layers. You don't want all the meat at the bottom, or all the onions at the top. Similarly, sprinkle cheese throughout.
  6. Finish with a raw egg--it'll bake in the oven. Put it on top so that you can watch it to avoid overcooking.

Excavated bread

 This is generally how your bowl should look once it's assembled and ready for baking:

Then bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the egg is set up and your cheese has melted. As mentioned above, if you want to speed the prep, cook your onions, mushrooms, and meat the night before. That way, you can just assemble in the morning.
Et voilà! You have a tasty, tasty breakfast bread bowl! When we ate it, not only were we in food comas immediately after, but we at some point stopped eating the fillings and just started tearing into the bread bowl that had been soaked with all the delicious flavors of our fillings. Mmm-mmm-mmm. Happy eating!

Ambiguously artisanal, definitely delicious