Earlier this month was Mother's Day and I fixed traditional Eggs Benedict for our monthly church breakfast. I love poached eggs and when you serve them on a crispy English muffin with grilled Canadian bacon covered with rich hollandaise sauce, there is a special dish. I want to add an example showcasing the first Translation technique, substitution. I have seen variations on Southern Benedicts at various restaurants, but here is my version. Examining the purely Southern theme, the English muffin can be replaced with a airy southern style biscuit (see Basics for recipe) and continuing with the theme, biscuits traditionally go with a country white milk gravy along with the prerequisite country fried steak. I prefer a more refined presentation so I like to use a circle cutter a little bit bigger then the one I use for biscuits to cut out perfect circles for my chicken fried steak. After breading and frying they will shrink a little and match the size of the biscuits. I can dice the rest of the meat, bread it and use it to make a complementary home fry side.
Southern Style Eggs Benedict
2 biscuits split in half. (See Basics)
4 poached eggs (See Basics)
Chicken Fried Steak (See Below)
Country Style Spicy Gravy (See Below)
Split the biscuits in half and place on plate. Top with chicken fried steak, then a poached egg. Ladle gravy over top and serve immediately. Serves four with one egg each or two hungry people with two eggs each. The remaining beef can be used to make a special home fries dish.
Chicken Fried Steak
1 pound beef (bottom round)
1 Cup all purpose flour
1 large egg
3 Tbsp. canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Tenderize beef using a jacard or pounding with a meat tenderizer to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Using a ring cutter, cut a circular piece of steak slightly bigger than the diameter of the biscuit being used. The remainder can be used in an other application. In two small shallow dishes, add the flour to one and beat an egg in the other. Season both sides with salt and pepper then dredge in the flour fist, shaking off any excess. Next dip in the beaten egg then dredge in the flour again. Let rest on a wire rack. Heat the oil in a medium skillet, then fry each piece in the oil until golden brown on both sides. Reserve warm until needed.
Country Style Spicy Gravy
2 pounds good quality pork sausage
1 large sweet onion finely diced
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. dried thyme or 4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 pinch red pepper flakes
Hot sauce to taste
2 cups whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. When the pan is hot, skin and break up the sausage into small pieces, season with salt and cook until brown and most of the fat has rendered out into the pan. Remove the sausage and reserve retaining the fat in the pan. Add the onions and cook until they become translucent. Add the thyme and red pepper flakes and continue to cook until the onions just start to brown. Whisk in the flour and stir until fully mixed. This is in fact a roux. I need to continue to stir until the raw flour taste is gone which should take a minute. Continue to whisk and slowly add the milk. I now will increase the heat to medium high, stirring frequently, then when the mixture begins to boil I reduce the heat to low. Now is the time to season with salt and pepper to taste, and to add the hot sauce to achieve the heat you want. Keep warm until needed.
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How does a good chef think? What is the creative process a
chef uses to come up with new and exciting dishes? What do I need to know to enable that creative process? These are the questions I want to explore in this series of articles. As a chef and an avid cookbook collector I am drawn towards
ideas and techniques of cooking rather than just a collection of recipes. I believe to grow as a chef, I need to continually learn and hone new techniques along with perfecting each technique I use every day. Whenever I go to a restaurant, whether fine dining, neighborhood pub, avant garde, or even fast food, I continually ask myself how can I do this better, what works and more important, what doesn’t? Feel free to send me comments, ask questions. Together, we can explore and make creative cuisine.
Spending almost thirty years in the computing field, I was able to travel experiencing a wide variety of tremendous cuisine. First I became a foodie, and when the opportunity arose, I was able to attend culinary school following my passion. I work as a part-time private chef and volunteer time at the community café in North Bend Oregon providing affordable meals in a restaurant setting to my community.