A loaded plateful of wurst and eggs, cholent, challah toast, latkes and a whole lot more, make up this delicious and filling Jewish breakfast or brunch.
The Full English
Have you ever eaten a Full English Breakfast? I’ve had my fair share of vegetarian versions of this legendary national dish. The original is sadly glatt trief thanks to the pork sausages, bacon, and sometimes black pudding, but it also features eggs, hash browns, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, and fried bread or toast. Plenty for the kosher-keepers or non-meat eaters to choose from.
I love the way Jewish cuisine absorbs and adapts dishes from its local hosts, and I knew the full English breakfast had properly sidled onto Jewish plates when my parents served it at a brunch party for their 50th wedding anniversary. The kosher caterer set up chafing dishes with vegetarian sausages, scrambled eggs, baked beans and all the trimmings.
Of course their brunch menu also featured bagels, cream cheese and smoked salmon too!
Recently I got to thinking about Sunday brunch, and what a truly Jewish meal it is! Although Shabbat is the ‘day of rest’, it can still be hard work – cooking, preparing, serving, clearing up… Sunday brunch meanwhile is an opportunity for a laid-back, relaxing meal that combines breakfast and lunch into a gentle Sunday morning activity. A hearty plateful of delicious food, endless cups of tea, and the Sunday papers to browse. Perfect.
And while bagels and smoked salmon might be traditional, the full Jewish breakfast is just what you want if you’ve had a late (or heavy!) Saturday night.
So what is a full Jewish Breakfast
Well, it’s like a full English breakfast, only more Jewish!
Thinking about the components of a traditional full English, I realised that there are Jewish alternatives to almost all of them, so…
Veggie, or not
Since I don’t eat meat I used Fry’s vegan ‘slicing sausage’ as my wurst, but there’s no reason you couldn’t make this using a meaty wurst if that’s your thing. Similarly, I used vegetarian cholent, but if you’ve got meaty cholent to use up on Sunday morning, this would be a great opportunity!
Of course one big advantage to making this vegetarian is that you can put real butter on your toasted challah. Best. Toast. Ever.
My Full Jewish Breakfast is an unabashedly Ashkenazi dish, but there’s no reason why you can’t add a little Middle Eastern or Sephardi flavour too. A dollop of humous is delicious, or a little pot of olives or pickles on the side. Maybe a teaspoon of fiery schug with the wurst and eggs. (The Sephardim have all the best condiments.)
Easy to assemble
While there are lots of components to the full Jewish breakfast, it’s mostly a simple heat and assemble job to prepare. I used leftover cholent and readymade, frozen latkes, and simply heated them in the oven as the tomatoes and mushrooms cooked. Meanwhile I prepared the wurst and eggs, and popped a slice of challah into the toaster at the last minute.
Then simply plate everything up and tuck in!
What to drink?
For me, a full Jewish breakfast (like its full English counterpart) calls for a big mug of milky tea, ideally made in a teapot from loose tea leaves. However, I’m quite tempted to switch it out for the Ashkenazi/Eastern European alternative of black tea with a slice of lemon, or even black tea sweetened with a spoonful of fruit preserves.
Coffee, juice, or your breakfast or brunch drink of choice would all be fine!
Quantities and amounts
Because this is a flexible dish, and at its best when made at least in part from leftovers, the quantities given are guidelines. Don’t feel you need to stick to them too rigidly. I have given amounts for making a single serving, but it should be easy to scale up if you need to feed more. Enjoy!
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The Full Jewish Breakfast
- 50 g mushrooms
- 1 tomato
- 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil (divided)
- 2 frozen latkes
- 3-4 tbsp cholent
- 50 g wurst (salami) (approx. 3 slices)
- 1 egg
- 2 slices challah
- butter, for spreading
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Quarter the mushrooms and mix with a small amount of oil in an ovenproof dish. Push the mushrooms to one end of the dish. Halve the tomato and put the two halves, cut side down, at the other end of the dish. Put the dish into the oven.
- Put the latkes onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and place into the oven.
- Put the cholent into an ovenproof dish and cover tightly with foil or a lid. Place into the oven.
- After 10-15 minutes, prepare the wurst and eggs. Slice the wurst into 3 4-5mm thick slices. Beat the egg.
- Heat a little oil in a small frying pan. Cook the slices of wurst for about 2 minutes on each side until crisped and starting to brown. Add the egg to the pan and tilt to pour around the slices.
- When the egg is almost set, flip the wurst and egg 'pancake' over to cook the other side. Pop the slices of challah into the toaster.
- When the toast pops up, it's time to plate up! Butter the challah toast and put onto a plate with the wurst and eggs, latkes, mushrooms, tomato and cholent. Relax and enjoy!
Some more delicious brunch dishes for you to try include aubergine shakshuka (which is great at any time of day!), avocado toast with smoked mackerel and lime, fluffy feta cheese pancakes, or delicious vegan savoury muffins with smoked tofu and caramelised onions.