Ah, Easter. That magical spring day when we all seem to forget that bunnies don’t lay eggs, but hey, they’re colorful and filled with chocolate, so who cares right? Of course, when I was a kid we didn’t really buy into the plastic eggs bit, what with my mother the hippie not wanting to contribute to the landfills. So, we boiled and decorated about four dozen or so real eggs every year. It was great, except for one thing, I can’t stand plain old hardboiled eggs. That’s right, I said it. They’re gross. The yolk is a weird texture, crumbly, chalky, and just bleh. No, thank you. Luckily, my grandmother had a solution to keep all those eggs from going to waste. She called it “Eggs a La Goldenrod” and it is my all-time favorite part of Easter….Ok no, that’s a lie. My favorite part is those little marshmallow bunnies and chicks. You know, the neon sugar covered cavities waiting to happen kind? Those things rock. I suppose that would make grandma’s recipe my second favorite then, but who is counting.
My grandma learned this recipe back in the days when home economics was still a required class. If you have parents or grandparents who had that class, then you may have had it before too. Granted, I’ve made a tweak here and there from their old fashioned recipe. However, it’s still a very simple and a useful way to use up those Easter eggs, and keep them from cluttering up your fridge. We make it every year for Easter brunch and it’s probably one of the first things I ever learned how to cook. Every year I was put to work. I peeled eggs and made the toast to work off some of the sugar rush from all those marshmallow bunnies. If you’ve got kiddos who are old enough to help out in the kitchen this is a great little recipe to involve them in. Now, typically, you would use plain store bought bread to make the toast, but if you enjoy baking as much as I do, then I highly recommend a homemade brioche. Possibly, a rustic loaf of some sort depending on your texture preferences. I, personally like it soft and spongy, like a biscuit. Come to think of it, biscuits go great with this dish in place of toast, should you prefer. The end product does somewhat resemble biscuits and gravy. Onwards to the recipe!
You will need:
- A lot of hardboiled eggs. (Seriously. Most recipes you’ll find online for this call for 6 to make 3-4 servings, but frankly I have never seen any leftovers no matter how big a batch I make so I use 12-14. Adjust as needed for the size/appetite of your family.)
- 2-3 cups milk. (Preferably whole, you want that richness from the moo-juice.)
- 4 TBSP butter or margarine (Butter is better, but you do you. Everyone knows holiday calories don’t count anyway.)
- 1 pound pork sausage. (I like to use hot/spicy sausage for this, and you want the ground stuff, not links or patties, but use whichever kind you like. Italian, Breakfast, or Sage. Your choice.)
- ½ cup flour or more as needed. (Any kind, but in our house it’s always unbleached all-purpose. Bleached flour doesn’t thicken nearly as well.)
- ½ TBSP garlic powder (If you can find roasted garlic powder, even better.)
- Chicken Bullion Salt, to taste, generally a TBSP or so (AKA, the “Secret” ingredient in my house. You could use regular sea salt or table salt if you like and cut the salt down to about a TSP, but I like that extra bit of flavor from the bullion and that requires a bit more.)
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste. (Do not skimp here, you really want that fresh ground stuff, not the pre-ground stuff in your shaker.)
- OPTIONAL! ½ tsp red pepper flakes. (We like things spicy, what can I say?)
- 1-2 slices of toast/biscuits per person.
Alright, on to the fun stuff. Now, you are going to peel all those hardboiled eggs. If you are employing child labor, this is an excellent task to set your tiny workers to, as the eggs do not need to be pretty. Plus, and it could just be me, but smashing all of those colorful designs you spent hours making, is oddly satisfying. Once your eggs are peeled, you want to cut them in half and separate the yolks from the whites. The whites should then be chopped up into chunks and set aside, the yolks can be either grated if you feel like loosing a finger, or crumbled up with fingers or forks if you want to let your kids make a mess…I mean, keep helping. Next, crumble your sausage into a skillet and get it all nice and browned. No pink spots here, remember we are working with pork. This is also a good time to get your preferred toast or biscuits going. I assume you all know how to operate a toaster if you’re reading recipes on a blog, but just in case; insert bread, push down lever, lather, rinse, repeat.
Once your meat is nicely cooked you have two options, but here’s what I do. First, I drain the grease CAREFULLY into a glass measuring cup, then I place the pork in a separate bowl to be added back in later. Then, I melt the butter and add it into the grease to get an idea of how much is there. You see, the next part of this process is to make a roux. For those of you who don’t watch an excessive amount of cooking shows, a roux is a mixture of fat and flour that is used to thicken gravies, sauces, and stews. The secret to a good roux is to ensure you have equal parts melted fat to flour. You can guesstimate this if you like, or don’t want to dirty another dish. Just keep the grease in the pan when you melt the butter. It generally works out to about roughly half a cup in volume in my experience.
Once you’ve worked out your grease/butter situation, turn your heat down to about medium low and add the flour and garlic powder into the grease in your pan. Whisk like your life depends on it until everything is smooth. If you notice a large amount of grease seeping out around the edges, add more flour in small amounts, whisking, whisking, whisking always as you let the flour and fat cook for a minute or two. Do not skimp on this step or you’re going to combat a raw flour flavor that is not pleasant. However, you don’t want to over-do it either, because then your roux will not thicken properly. Slowly add your milk a cup at a time to the roux, still whisking like a mad-person to smooth out any clumps, and when you are satisfied with the consistency, which should be slightly thicker than a good gravy, stir the sausage crumbles and egg whites into the mess. Add your salt, pepper and red pepper flakes if using, to taste. Serve the lot of it warm over toast slices or split biscuits, with the crumbled yolks or “Goldenrod” sprinkled over the top. It may not be the prettiest thing you ever put down in front of your family, but it might be the tastiest. My hand to god, I think this recipe is why my partner started dating me in the first place. Best of luck parents, and Happy Easter!