I’ve never been to England, and I’ve never had an English full breakfast. Until recently, I didn’t even know what an English full breakfast was. I actually came across it in a Gordon Ramsay cookbook, and, honestly, I glossed over it because I never imagine I’d ever gather the bollocks to try black pudding (also known as boudin noir or, the more descriptive, blood sausage). I found some at Adventure in Food Trading for a pretty good price, so I said, “what the hell?!” And my thought was that there are enough components on the plate for this that, even if the black pudding was gross, I could fill up on everything else.
As far as hardware, all it took was a cast iron skillet.
Gordon’s rendition of the breakfast calls for bacon, sausage, black pudding, mushrooms, tomatoes, bread, and eggs. I know a lot of people also do beans, but I went off the “recipe” in his book. [Hey, “Irishman” Bobby Flay did an episode of Brunch with Bobby where he omitted the black pudding and added waffles; I’m sure Ramsay’s version is a little more authentic than that. But really, do we really care that much about authenticity if we’re eating good?]
The bacon I used was also from Adventure in Food, and the breakfast sausage was my own personal recipe adapted from Bruce Aidells’ book. Stuffing sausage into casing with the equipment I have is not very fun, so I just formed mine into a patty. Our good buddy, The Exile, gave me the criticism that in England (where he’s from), it’s always links. Well, mine wasn’t links, but at least I made it myself. I sliced the black pudding on a bias to expose lots of surface area.
After the pan got good and hot, I started the breakfast sausage patty along with a tablespoon of olive oil. And as that cooks, the order of putting everything onto the skillet was dictated by the time it would take to cook.
So once all of that awesome pork left some of its flavoring and additional fat in the pan, I fried up a piece of my homemade whole wheat bread (no recipe online, yet) in the pan.
Once that was done, two crimini mushroom caps went onto the hot pan (top first), and when those got flipped, the tomatoes went on to get warm and get some color. [The mushrooms were a bit thick, so I covered them for a couple of minutes before adding the tomatoes; hence the cake pan in the image.]
In a separate pan (I have one that’s perfect to fry up one egg into the perfect circle), I fried an egg sunny-side-up with a little butter (and also with some salt and pepper on top, of course).
And everything got served up on the same plate.
I was actually surprised that I liked the black pudding. It didn’t taste as strong as I imagined. It was rich and luscious and had just a hint of gaminess, but it was quite pleasant.
It was a pretty awesome and very substantial and fulfilling breakfast. The vegetables really helped to break up the richness of everything, and the bread was great for enjoying the egg and sopping up some of the great juices from the meats and vegetables. I’d definitely have this again, and I might try to do beans, but they very well could take this very over-the-top dish over-the-edge.