Breakfast is my favorite meal.


DSC_0339It’s true. I could eat breakfast three meals a day. I tend to go for the savory: eggs in all their forms, cast iron skillet-fried sausage and bacon, tomatoes and zucchini in summer, hearty mushrooms in winter. That said, I also love winter’s hearty soups and roasts and summer’s light, simply prepared vegetables and grilled meats. So what’s so special about breakfast?

Breakfast is warm and easy. It’s a meal we eat together. It’s Sunday morning at the kitchen table after church. Mom sections grapefruit while dad scrambles eggs and Katie, Alec and I set the table and load it with peanut butter and every jam we can find on the fridge door.

In college breakfast is when we gather with friends in the local diner for heaping plates of pancakes, eggs and hash browns — and coffee, lots and lots of coffee — to talk about the previous night’s adventures, desperately hoping that a plateful of grease and carbs will settle our stomachs and the pounding in our heads. We graduate to brunch, which is pretty much the same college breakfast, but in nicer restaurants with better outfits.

But at some point we return to the kitchen table, or we’re back at the diner in our lazy weekend clothes more worried about a waiter who will keep our coffee cups full than whether the fashion police are seated at the next table. We’re laughing easily, spending time like leisure is abundant and taking joy from the company of the people we’re with and some really good bacon.

And that, that breakfast, is my favorite meal.

Turkey Sausage Pumpkin Hash

Serves 6

Serve it up with a fried egg on top. Break the yolk and let it run over the hash. And make a really big pot of coffee. Once you add the pumpkin and sausage back into the pan and toss it together leave it alone. If you constantly stir, the pumpkin will just stick to the bottom. You have to leave it alone for a few minutes so it can develop a good sear and release when you go to stir it.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups pumpkin, like Buttercup or Speckled Hound — you could also substitute butternut squash — cut in 1” cubes
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 4 turkey sausages*
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pint Crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Ancho chile powder
  • 2 tbs cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs minced sage
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

*I used a Maple Raspberry turkey breakfast sausage from Market Poultry at Eastern Market in Washington, DC.

Directions:

  • Place steamer basket in a 3-4 quart sauce pot with water. Add pumpkin and steam on high heat until it can be pierced through with a knife without splitting.
  • Meanwhile warm 1 tbs oil in a 12” skillet over medium heat. Squeeze sausage from casings and brown in pan, cooking through. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  • Return the pan to medium heat with the additional tbs of oil and add onion. Cook 3 minutes to soften. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer until fragrant. Add mushrooms and cook until they begin to brown on edges, about 5 minutes. Add pumpkin and sausage to pan. Sprinkle with sugar and chile powder. Toss and cook, only stirring once or twice, for 5 minutes, to brown pumpkin.
  • Deglaze the pan with vinegar, scraping the bottom. Season with sage, salt and pepper. Toss with parsley to serve.

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