Southern Breakfast Bowl: Baked Eggs with Grits, Ham & Swiss Chard

I am always on the look-out for new breakfast recipes, particularly those with a different approach to cooking eggs.  Since we incorporate protein in every breakfast, we end up eating a lot of eggs so I’m constantly looking for variety in egg recipes.  Last weekend, Roger and I enjoyed a new breakfast dish that was so good we had it on Saturday and then again on Sunday!

This recipe more than met the mark.  It was so delicious on so many levels, that I could use up a lot of adjectives and adverbs describing how good it was.  It’s a layered Southern breakfast in a bowl with grits as its base.  The remaining layers are thinly sliced Black Forest ham, garlic-sautéed Swiss chard, crumbled or grated cheese (you have a wonderful choice of cheeses), egg, and more cheese, all seasoned to taste.  Then you take this wonderful concoction and bake it until the eggs are set the way you like them.

This dish is OUTSTANDING!  One bite was all it took to nominate it for inclusion in my list of all-time favorite breakfasts.  I was so happy that we had cooked up enough Swiss chard to make it again the next day.  If you look up the original post, you’ll find that blogger did the same thing.

For the next few days, I walked around telling everyone I met about this dish, how delicious it was, and how they needed to make it.  Now I’m telling you!

One year ago:  Crostini with Sun-dried Tomato Jam

Southern Breakfast Bowl:  Baked Eggs with Grits, Ham & Swiss Chard

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Ingredients

  • 4 servings grits cooked according to package directions
  • 2 tbl. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 large bunch Swiss chard, rinsed, stems removed, and chopped (You could substitute about 4 cups of spinach.)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme (Roger isn’t a fan of thyme, so I omitted.  I do like thyme, but I didn’t miss it at all.)
  • 7 ounces Black Forest ham, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pound goat cheese (crumbled), Cheddar, Gruyere, Parmesan or Asiago grated (We’ve made it using Gruyere one time and Asiago another.  Both were delicious, but we thought the Asiago was slightly better.)
  • 4 large eggs
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, optional (I did not use)

Directions

Position a rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter four 4- to 6-inch ramekins (or ovenproof bowls), and place them on a baking sheet.  Set aside.

If you haven’t cooked your grits already, prepare them according to package directions.

To Prep the Swiss Chard:  Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic, and sauté until you can smell it.  Add the chard to the skillet, and sauté until wilted and tender, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add thyme if using.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Set aside.

To Assemble the Bowls:  Divide the grits among the ramekins, and layer the ham, chard, and cheese on top, reserving a little cheese for sprinkling.

Carefully crack 1 egg into each ramekin. Top with a little more cheese.  Season with salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg (if using), to taste.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the egg whites are just set (or bake to the desired consistency, up to 5 minutes longer).  Remove the ramekins from the oven, and let them cool for 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 4.

Source:   Adapted from an Ezra Pound Cake recipe

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