Much More than Food: Chef Mary’s Holiday Favorite
Chef Mary Russo at Castlewood’s Monarch Cove location was recently promoted to National Director, Culinary Services. She uses her expertise in crafting delicious and nutritionally balanced meals to help our clients restore healthy relationships with food.
The holidays are finally here! For me, as for many people, holiday traditions and memories are tightly intertwined with special meals and exceptional foods. In fact, my love for cooking developed over years of preparing meals for holidays, parties and other family gatherings.
It’s not only the food, but also the movement of hearts and minds at dinner tables that makes cooking such a joy. The laughter and rich conversation frequently shared over meals is the stuff of strong, genuine relationships. Those opportunities of togetherness fostered by finger foods can produce cherished memories and feelings of warmth that last for years to come. My role at Castlewood means that I can play a part in teaching clients to enjoy food again, both preparing and eating it. In turn, I hope that their family gatherings are unhindered by the angst that eating disorders can carry and that instead each of them is assured by love and belonging.
In light of the holiday season, I want to share a recipe with you that is one of my all-time favorites. When I was little we used to wait impatiently for my oldest brother and his wife to arrive on Christmas morning so we could open presents. She always brought this delicious egg and sausage casserole that I loved. I tried to replicate it for years, and finally arrived at this recipe. It’s perfect for Christmas morning, and makes the house smell delicious. My family and I sit around on couches and eat it while we open presents.
Scrambled Eggs with Mushrooms, Cheddar and Pancetta
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ lb assorted wild mushrooms (or a variety of any type of mushrooms that you can find), such as chanterelle, porcini, brushed clean and coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 10 large eggs
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 oz. pancetta, chopped
- ¼ lb cheddar cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 Tbsp minced, fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley
In a frying pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 ½ Tbsp of the butter. When it foams, add the mushrooms and sauté until they release their juices, 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp of the salt. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Break the eggs into a separate bowl, add the pepper and the remaining ¼ tsp salt, and whisk until well blended.
In a clean frying pan over medium heat, melt the remaining 2 ½ Tbsp butter. When it foams, add the garlic and pancetta and sauté until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Pour in the eggs and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until the eggs are nearly cooked to the desired consistency, about 5 minutes for a soft curd, and 7-8 minutes for a firmer one. Add the mushrooms, cheese and parsley during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
Spoon the eggs into a platter or individual plates and serve at once.
Tip: Fresh herbs, such as thyme or basil, can be used in place of the parsley, while Gruyere or mozzarella cheese can be substituted for the Cheddar.
I’ve got breakfast covered; what about snacks and dinner? Share your favorite holiday meal in the comments sections below.