Sometimes I just want to break all of the rules and other times in the midst of problem solving the rules get broken.
The problem was how do I make Irish breakfast for 12 in my home kitchen without missing the game and losing my mind. There are 10 unique items on the plate of Irish full breakfast. Coordinating it all is no small feat, which is why I tend to eat my Irish breakfast out at the pub.
Necessity is said to be the mother of invention. Perhaps the Irish breakfast was not necessary but it sure was desired. When I am tasked with feeding a group I frequently rely on the classic breakfast strata. The strata can be made ahead, pulled out, heated in the morning, and when done right it’s delicious!
My eureka moment is when I asked myself why not put the Irish breakfast in the strata? I have never seen this done but someone has surely done this before. I failed to find a recipe but how hard could it be? I sat down and mapped out the Irish breakfast pudding based on the classic strata and the classic Irish breakfast.
The best part — it’s delicious! The upside is that it can be done in advance allowing you to watch the game, engage with guests, or otherwise be hands-free when your guests arrive. The only downside is that it does require a good amount of preparation but it’s well worth the effort.
- 1 loaf Italian bread
- 2 Irish bangers (sausage)
- 6 oz. White pudding
- 6 oz. Black pudding
- 4 slices smoked bacon
- 2 cups cubed potato
- 2 cups white mushrooms
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar
- 3 cups half & half
- 6 eggs
- dried thyme
- salt and pepper
Remove the thick portions of the bread crust and cut the loaf in one inch cubes. Allow it dry overnight or put it in a low oven for an hour to dry a bit.
Cut the bangers and white and black puddings into cubes. I quartered them lengthwise and then cut the quarters into 1/3 inch pieces. Sauté these three elements individually until lightly browned.
Quarter the mushrooms and cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Roast the mushrooms until well cooked and roast the tomatoes until they have shrunk in size by half.
Blanch the potato cubes and drain and then sauté over high heat until 3/4 quarters cooked.
Cook the bacon slices and then break it into 1/4 inch pieces.
Crack the eggs into a bowl and whip until homogeneous. Add the half & half slowly to incorporate. Season the mixture with the dried thyme and salt and pepper.
Add the egg mixture to the bread cubes and stir to cover evenly. Allow 30 minutes or so for the liquid to be primarily absorbed by the bread. Then add the meats, cheese, and potatoes and stir in to the bread cubes. Add the tomatoes and mushrooms and stir gently to combine.
Place the entire mixture into a buttered 13×9 baking dish. (You can also put these into individual crocks.)
Bake in a 350F oven for 45 minutes. Serve in warm bowls with a cool Stout or strong black tea.