By Nancy Olah
This is my fresh take on a traditional Boy Scout camping classic. After a camping trip a few years ago, our son Nick described how they layered sliced raw potatoes in a well-greased Dutch oven, with raw eggs, onion, and sausage on top. The Scouts would then cover the Dutch oven and bake the concoction in an open fire. The reason Nick never enjoyed the dish is that by the time the raw potatoes were thoroughly cooked, the eggs and sausage were rubbery.
In re-envisioning this recipe for my home kitchen (no campfires for me – thank you!), I discovered that by pre-cooking the potatoes, the texture of the eggs is perfect.
I originally made Mountain Main with Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage, but never published the recipe on my blog because I wasn’t overjoyed with the results. Nightlife Gimme Lean Sausage is made with soy, and that is a problem for many folks. Also, since the recipe only needed half a package, I usually stuck the remainder in my fridge and (often) forgot to use it before it went bad.
Recently, I found a new substitute for non-meat sausage that I think is much better. Quorn has developed Meatless & Soy-Free Sausage Patties that have just become available in the Carolinas. (A quick search revealed that only Healthy Home Market consistently has the Quorn Sausage Patties in stock. Note to Earth Fare and Harris Teeter – please start stocking this great product!)
The patties are made with non-GMO ingredients and come six to a box, with three packages of two inside. This makes it easy to modify my recipe if you are serving more or fewer people.
You’ll also notice that the number of eggs is flexible, too. That’s because I buy fresh local eggs every week at the farmers market that are often “ungraded” in terms of size. I buy from a variety of farmers, but always make sure that the hens are not caged and are fed organic, vegetarian feed. As a result, I often get 4-5 huge jumbo size eggs in the dozen, with the balance being “extra-large.” Since the volume of egg white and yolk will differ dramatically depending on the size of the egg, feel free to adjust the recipe based on the size of your eggs. And please buy from a local farmer rather than old eggs that have been languishing in the grocery store cooler. Even though the “Best by” date may not have passed, those eggs will be much less fresh than the eggs bought at your local market. Here’s a good article about local eggs in the Charlotte region, which taught me that “free-range” is the wrong term to use when it comes to eggs!
While the Boy Scouts probably used regular yellow onions, I chose a red onion for color and sautéed the sausage patties (which I just crumbled with my hands) for only a few minutes because they would be cooking more in the oven.
This is a one pan brunch, provided you have a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. That way you can go straight from the stove top right into the oven.
Instead of toast or grits (which is how they probably served the Mountain Man around the campfire), I opted for a fresh fruit salad with chopped mango, blackberries, clementines, and orange slices. Healthy moms have to find some way of civilizing a Mountain Man – right?
- 3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced in ¼” slices
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, cut pole to pole, and very thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
- 4 Quorn Sausage Patties, defrosted and crumbled
- 4-6 eggs, depending on size
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 325° F.
- Peel and slice the potatoes and put them in a bowl of ice cold water. When you’re done, rinse the sliced potatoes and put them in a medium pot filled with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for about 6 minutes. Let the potato slices cool in the water for at least 5 minutes before draining. Please don’t throw away the potato water – either save it as a base for making delicious potato peel broth or at least put it on your compost pile along with your potato peelings.)
- Heat a medium 9” or 10” cast iron skillet over medium heat. Please make sure the handle is oven proof. When the skillet is hot, add the olive oil and sauté the onion for about 5-6 minutes over low heat. Add the crumbled Quorn Sausage Patties, and cook for another 3 minutes. This can all be done while the potatoes are cooking and then cooling. Let the onion and meat mixture cool for a few minutes.
- Crack the eggs into a large bowl and add the salt and pepper. When the onion and meat mixture has cooled a bit, add it to the eggs.
- Return the empty skillet to the burner with a bit more olive oil, and turn up the heat. Make sure that the hot oil thoroughly coats the bottom and sides of the skillet. Turn off the heat. Layer the drained potato slices, salt and pepper them thoroughly, and then pour the egg, onion and sausage mixture on top. Sprinkle with paprika, and pop in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until it is puffed and golden brown. Test to make sure that the eggs are thoroughly cooked and then cut into wedges and serve.