Posted in Blog Posts, Feed Me, Seymour!, LOTR

A Proper Fry Up plus bonus Buttermilk Pancakes!

“Down in the lowest and most sheltered corner of the dell they lit a fire and prepared a meal.  The shades of evening began to fall, and it grew cold.  They were suddenly aware of great hunger, as they had not eaten anything since breakfast; but they dared not make more than a frugal supper.”

-The Fellowship of the Ring

I’ve always been obsessed with proper British food and honestly the descriptions of the food (which is far and between in the books) is one of the things that kept me focused when I read The Lord of the Rings series in high school.  While I don’t appreciate Sam, Merry and Pippin’s choice of timing when it came to making a Proper Fry Up in the movie adaptation, I do appreciate their choice in hearty food when they are on a long and perilous journey.

This Fry Up is a little more complex and has a few more ingredients than the one featured in the movie on the top of Amon Sûl, but it mimics a proper British Fry Up with all the components built from scratch.  I know a lot of people in England will argue as to what constitutes a proper fry up and quite frankly it seems to change from area to area with some places serving it with Black and/or White pudding, and others serving them with fried potatoes or proper Chips. 

But here is how I serve it at home on rainy days when I have time in the morning.  And you’ll get a bonus recipe of my delicious and fluffy buttermilk pancakes (because as an American I can’t turn down a good pancake!)

Ingredients:

For the general components of the Fry Up:

  • Streaky bacon (or as we say here in the States…bacon… I prefer something hardwood smoked and thick cut particularly if it is from a local farm)
  • Bangers (or pork sausages similar to what we consider bratwurst here in the States though smaller pork or even turkey sausage links work fine in a pinch)
  • Fresh tomatoes or tinned whole tomatoes if you can’t find nice fresh ones (I like the color and variety of the heirlooms I find at my local farmers market when I can get them)
  • Fresh mushrooms (I like the woody taste of Portobello mushrooms for this)
  • Fresh bread (try the 1-hour No Knead French Bread in this post if you want to make it fresh: )
  • Fresh eggs
  • Olive oil
  • Butter (if you want to go the extra mile then make the Fresh Salted Butter in this post: )
  • Tinned beans….or the following ingredients to make your own fresh beans:
    • 3 cups of dried beans (I like Navy but a mix of Navy, Pinto and white beans like Great Northern is good as well)
    • ½ lb Streaky Bacon
    • ½-1 sweet onion
    • 7-9 cups Vegetable broth
    • 2-4 TBS tomato paste
    • ½-1 cup brown sugar (to taste)
    • ¼ cup honey
    • 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • Small fingerling potatoes
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

For the Bonus Buttermilk Pancakes:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 TBS white sugar
  • 1 ½ TSP baking soda
  • ¾ TSP salt
  • 3 cups buttermilk (if you go above and beyond and make your own butter for above use the saved buttermilk from the butter for this!)
  • ½ cup milk (whole is best but I do it with 1% because that’s what we keep in my house)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1-2 TSP vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Step by Step:

  1. Additional Supplies and Equipment:
    • A 13×9 inch baking dish or two if you need or want to keep your food warm as you finish up other parts of the fry up
    • Several pans including a large pot for cooking beans, at least one (I prefer two) large flat bottomed sautee pan for cooking meats, onions and mushrooms, and a smaller sautee pan for making the pancakes
    • Spatula and cooking spoons
    • Strainer or collander
  2. If you are making beans from scratch follow these steps:
    • Rinse your beans several times in the large pot, filling it and then dumping into a strainer, to get rid of all the dirt and small stones that can end up in dry beans
    • When they are clean put the beans back into the large pot and cover with water allowing to soak for at least 12 hours
    • Rinse the beans one last time, dumping the soaking water and beans into a colander and rinsing under cool water.  Rinse the pan as well then return the beans to the pan
    • Cover the beans with vegetable stock (while reserving ½ cup of the stock for later) and simmer for at least 1 hour or until the beans are soft and tender
    • While the beans are cooking prep your other ingredients… cut the pieces of bacon into smaller pieces to sautee, slice the onion thinly for caramelization
    • Fry the bacon in the large flat bottomed sautee pan until crispy, straining the bacon out of the fat and putting it into the large pot with the beans
    • Using the bacon fat sautee the onions, seasoning well with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally until they begin to caramelize…if they need a little help after about 15-20 minutes then you can add a tablespoon or so of white sugar well mixed in to assist in the caramelization
    • As you caramelize the onion preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 degrees Celsius)
    • Add the caramelized onions to the beans wiping out the pan as you will be using it later to do a bunch more of your fry up
    • Add the tomatoe paste to the ½ cup vegetable stock and stir to thin it out.  Add this mix, the brown sugar, honey and Worcestershire sauce along with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste (I use somewhere between ¼- ½ TSP of the garlic and onion to start and don’t add salt and pepper till later as these were added to the onions as they cooked)
    • Mix this all together and add to the 13×9 inch pan, cover in foil and put in the oven for 2 hours uncovering for the last 30 minutes…make sure to check and stir the beans every 30 minutes or so to keep the sugars from sticking and thickening too much
  3. Start your fry up with about 20 minutes left when cooking the beans…or start here if you are using tinned beans!
    • Prep your ingredients: wash and slice your mushrooms or keep them whole, slice two pieces of bread, crack your eggs into a small bowl and scramble them if you want them scrambled (or leave whole if you want you sunny side up), prep your pancake mix if you are making pancakes or waffles, slice your fresh tomatoes and wash and cut up your fresh potatoes
    • I like to start two pans, one with the meats (if you have made your beans from scratch use the pan you used for bacon and onion) and one with olive oil and butter for the veggies
    • In the pan with butter and oil add in the potatoes and sautee until crispy on all sides, if the potatoes are not completely done through add about ½ cup water to the pan and cover on medium low heat to steam through the potatoes…these can be put into the baking dish and into the oven to keep warm
    • Add 2-4 slices of streaky bacon to one pan and 2-3 sausage links, cooking over medium heat until cooked…in the other pan add the mushrooms either whole or sliced to the pan when the oil and butter come to temperature
    • When the meats are done you can place them in a baking dish in the oven with the potatoes to keep them warm but move quickly at this point because the hot oven can over cook the meats
    • Add more oil and butter to the potato pan and sautee the mushrooms until golden brown seasoning with salt, pepper, garlic and onion to taste
    • As the mushrooms come close to finishing you can add the mushrooms to the pan in th oven to keep them warm
    • Use the pan with the meats and bacon fat to fry up your two slices of bread being sure to flip the bread immediately to get fat on both sides of the bread
    • In the mushroom pan add more butter and oil if needed and add in the sliced or tinned tomatoes and sautee until heated through and with bits of char if you like that while keeping and eye on your bread so it doesn’t burn
    • Pull the bread out of the pan plating it and add the eggs in scrambling or frying to your preference
    • If you are using tinned beans warm these up either on the stove or in the microwave according to the directions on the tin
    • Pull out your beans and your food you are keeping warm and plate it along with your bread
  4. If you are making pancakes this can be done during the time you are frying up your potatoes… to prep the batter put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until almost but not quite smooth, use the small sautee pan and grease it with butter (or cooking spray in a waffle iron making sure to respray between each waffle), dole out a measure of batter about ¼ of a cup and put in pan or maker, close the waffle maker or wait until bubble form and pop in the batter, turning when the bubbles pop but do not fill back in with batter…flip and cook until golden checking every few minutes… serve hot with butter and syrup or compound butter

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