About a week ago I made a recipe from the April 2005 Bon Appetit that I thought had great potential but sucked. Actually, it was the first of two recipes I made from that issue that both sucked. I am not normally a recipe follower, more of an inspiration stealer (the folk process as we experience it), but for some reason I was feeling sheep-y. And it got me nowhere.
The original recipe is for Bacon-Wrapped Baked Eggs with Polenta (p 117), the end result being cute little cups you can turn out. But the recipe calls for a killer amount of parmesan in the polenta, the bacon ends up rubbery (that's 3 strikes in and of itself), and overall it is too messy and time consuming for breakfast. I hated it so much I only ate three bites, even after all the mess and time consumption.
This version tastes fantastic, is less fussy (but still intensive enough to be weekend breakfast/brunch material), but doesn't solidify so don't plan on turning them out. If you don't own souffle cups/ramekins, here's a good excuse! They only cost $3 each for good ones at my local store, Artichokes, or 6 for $10 at chef's catalog. No, seriously, if you don't own them you can bake each portion up in an oversized muffin tin, and then scoop it out onto a plate, but you might as well just cook everything separately and pile it together when you plate it. You could just fry the sausage, set it aside, make the grits and warm them in the microwave, then fry the eggs. Still a weekend breakfast, but not as cute, and not as fun to eat. With this version, as you dig down through the souffle cup, all the flavors mix and its like digging for treasure (sausage, of course).
Baked Egg Cups
enough for a good breakfast for six people if served with a bit of fruit
tube of fresh breakfast sausage
2 cans white hominy (yellow is ok, too)
1/3 cup cream cheese, room temperature
6 oz chevre, room temperature
1 tsp fresh thyme
6 large eggs
Spanish smoked paprika
Preheat the oven to 400F. Unwrap the sausage, then cut it into six slices. Flatten each slice a bit so they will nicely cover the bottom of the ramekins. In a skillet over medium heat, brown the sausages on both sides, and err on the side of underdone rather than overdone. Meanwhile, drain the hominy. In a food processor, grind into small bits to resemble grits. Add the cream cheese, chevre, thyme, salt and pepper and pulse to combine.
Assemble the cups: put the sausage patties in the bottom, then divide the grit mixture between the cups, press it in and it should come to a bit under the lip of the cup. Make an indentation with the back of a large spoon, and crack an egg into each indentation. Bake for about 18 minutes, until the egg whites have just set. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.
just before they go into the oven
you can see I improvised because I only have 4 ramekins