With a week that’s dragged on a little longer than I’d like, my feet start dragging the same way. I look closer and closer to the weekend where brunches are an exercise in relaxation. Sometimes simple, like a broccoli-cheese omelette, others, more complex like doing eggs benedict where you make almost every component yourself.
This past weekend was a day where I happily lingered over the more complex brunch idea. I had some wonderful fresh chicken-rosemary sausages from a local organic farm and wanted to form them into patties for an eggs benedict idea. So besides this bit of help, and not laying eggs myself (that would be painful and beyond the scope of my human masculinity), I set out to make the rest.
The foundation was a biscuit, not an English muffin, like the traditional. This wasn’t any ordinary biscuit. I had some duck fat in the freezer and knew they would make the most over-the-top rich biscuits ever. Putting it into my favourite buttermilk biscuit recipe just made it all the better.
Along with the biscuit, poached egg and sausage patty, I went about devising a hollandaise sauce that would be a little different, so I went with a combination of homemade garlic oil and cold pressed canola oil that I use all the time instead of the traditional melted butter. It worked beautifully.
By going through step by step in a reasonable order, being prepared along the way, what could appear to be foolishly complex, becomes a relaxing moment to relish in the joy of cooking something beautiful.
Sausage Eggs Benedict with Duck Fat Biscuits and Garlic Oil-Thyme Hollandaise
For the Duck Fat Biscuits:
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup Park wheat flour (or bread flour)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup frozen duck fat (I like to freeze my duck fat, or butter for that matter, in 1/2 cup portions specifically for biscuit baking)
3/4-7/8 cup (180-200mL) buttermilk
Preheat oven to 200C/425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a coarse grater, grate the frozen duck fat into the dry ingredients. Work together with your fingertips to incorporate the grated duck fat quickly until the entire mixture is like coarse pebbles. Add 3/4 cup buttermilk and stir together with a wooden spoon until it comes together. Some weather makes the mixture a little drier on a given day and I say to have an extra tablespoon or two of buttermilk on hand to add in case this happens.
Turn the dough on to the counter and knead very gently to bring together into a soft dough. Press out the dough into a rough rectangle about 2cm/1″ thick. Cut out squares with a knife (or use biscuit cutters, but that leads to wasted edge bits of dough, so I just tend to cut). Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven on the lower rack for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Take out of the oven and allow to cool on the pan while preparing the other components. Makes 8 biscuits.
For the Sausage Patties:
450g/1 lb chicken-rosemary sausages (or your favourite breakfast sausage meat. I bought links and squeezed them out of the casings but if you can get it already free of the casings that’s great too)
1 tsp cold pressed canola oil
Divide the sausage meat into 4 equal sized balls. Press each ball of sausage meat into a patty.
Preheat a large skillet or griddle over medium high heat, add the oil and fry the sausage patties for 3-4 minutes per side until golden on each side. Turn off the oven from baking biscuits, transfer the browned sausages to a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the oven. The residual heat from the oven will keep the sausage warm while preparing the rest of the components.
For the Garlic Oil-Thyme Hollandaise:
3 egg yolks
2 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup garlic oil
1/2 cup cold pressed canola oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Combine the garlic oil and cold pressed canola oil in a metal bowl and set near the burner on the stove you are using to keep warm. Keep a ladle in it for adding purposes.
In a stainless steel bowl over a pot of simmering water over medium heat, add the egg yolks, vinegar and thyme. Whisk until the mixture starts to thicken. Gradually ladle in the warm oil mixture and whisk continuously to make a smooth sauce. If the sauce starts to become too thick add a tablespoon or two of water and take the bowl off of the heat, whisking more to make the mixture smooth. Set aside on a warm part of the stove (not a burner or pot of simmering water) while poaching the eggs.
For the poached eggs and serving:
4 large eggs
In a medium pot, bring 1L/4 cups water to a bare simmer over medium low heat. Add a teaspoon of vinegar. Crack one egg into a small bowl and ease the egg into the barely simmering water along the edge of the pot. Keep a slotted spoon beneath the egg as you lower it into the water. Gather up the spreading egg white as best as you can, easing it over the yolk. There will be some egg white loss while poaching so don’t worry. Ease the slotted spoon beneath the yolk, lifting the egg as it poaches gently moving in an up and down motion. Pull it free from the water periodically and jiggle it slightly to assess the degree of doneness you’d like. I find about two and a half to three minutes of poaching is cooked well enough to hold the yolk and still have that “gooey” factor when you break into it. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Set each egg as it finishes poaching on top of a prepared sausage that’s on a split biscuit. Things will go quickly from here so don’t worry about the sausage getting cold.
When all of the eggs are done, spoon over some of the prepared Garlic Oil-Thyme Hollandaise. Serve immediately. Serves 4 with leftover biscuits for breakfast the next day 😉