The full English breakfast is England’s favorite way to start the day. With all your favorite breakfast items and a few you may not be familiar with, I’m going to take through all the components of a traditional full English (as we call it).
It doesn’t get anymore English than this, because we actually have a National breakfast. There are usually 5-7 items that make up a full English depending on which items are included, but if I’m going for it, I’m going for all 7. Here’s how this massive breakfast shapes up.
Good English pork sausage. It’s hard to find a bad sausage in England because they are made really well. Recently I’m seeing a lot more supermarkets carry British-style bangers and they are a good substitute. If all else fails, any of your favorite sausage would work.
American bacon is not allowed here. There’s nothing wrong with American bacon, it’s just not the right kind. What is American bacon? Isn’t it just… bacon? Yes, but in England we eat back bacon (cut from the back). It’s very much like Canadian bacon, as it does not crisp up like American bacon that is streaked with fat and cut from the belly. Back bacon is very ham-like with the fat around the edge and unsmoked.
Fried and sunny-side up. Scrambled does not belong here because you have to have the runny yolk. I like to think of it as breakfast gravy.
Beans for breakfast? Sure, start the day with fiber. Baked beans, just like American barbecue beans without the barbecue flavor, they are just in a plain tomato sauce. Canned is allowed (or you could make your own, here’s my recipe for British baked beans).
Fresh only, no canned. Simply cut in half and sautéed flesh side down to soften and brown slightly. It’s nice to have something fresh in the meal.
Fresh, brown mushrooms. Sliced and simply sautéed.
Buttered toast is acceptable, but if you’re going all out, fried bread. What is fried bread? It’s white bread fried in vegetable oil until golden brown. That’s about as simple as it gets. No one said this was a healthy breakfast.
Black pudding (don’t be afraid)
It’s a sausage, not a pudding, and not always served with the breakfast. It is a personal preference but again, if I’m going for it, I’m for all of it. It’s a very flavorful, all natural pork sausage (but it does contain something to make it black). I’ll let you Google that…
Brown sauce is a must (it is just like a steak sauce) and ketchup is allowed.
So that’s the breakdown and lowdown on Full English. I don’t recommend eating it everyday. I like to enjoy it once in a while on Sunday morning. Because the breakfast is so big, you can imagine, I don’t eat much the rest of the day.
If you’re looking for more British recipes on Food Fanatic, check out the always-comforting bangers and mash.
- 4 english pork sausages
- 4 slices back bacon
- 6 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup canned beans in tomato sauce
- 2 ripe tomatoes, cut in half
- pinch of salt, small
- 2 slices black pudding
- 2 slices white bread
- 4 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 200°F. Place an ovenproof dish in the oven to keep warm.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and brush with vegetable oil.
- Add the sausages to the pan and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.
- While the sausages are cooking add the bacon and mushrooms to the pan.
- Cook the bacon for 3-5 minutes per side and cook the mushrooms until browned.
- When the sausages, bacon and mushrooms are done, transfer to the ovenproof dish, cover with foil and keep warm in the oven while you make the other components.
- To a small saucepan, add the beans and keep warm over medium low heat.
- Wipe out the frying pan and brush with vegetable oil.
- Season the tomatoes with salt and add them flesh down to the pan. Add the black pudding to the same pan and cook each for 2 minutes per side. Remove and transfer to the dish in the oven.
- Wipe out the pan and add 3 tablespoons vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat.
- Add the bread to the oil (test it by putting in a corner of bread, if it sizzles, it’s ready) and cook until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel to drain.
- To the same oil add the eggs and spoon hot oil over the yolks until cooked.
- Serve all the components on a plate with the bread on the side.
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