Sunday, January 4, 2015


I think almost every culture has some form of a basic peasant dish that consists of potatoes, onions, eggs, and meat. In Spain you've got the Tortilla, in Italy it's the Frittata, in Ireland it's Colcannon, and in the USA we technically call it a Hash but restaurants have it on the menu as a "Skillet" or "Scramble".

In Germany, this dish is called Bauernfrühstück (bow-urn-frew-shtewck) or "Farmers' Breakfast". I learned about this dish from my German husband, did a little research online and in my German cookbooks, and added my own adjustments based on my own preferences and cooking experience. I've even had it a few times in Germany, but of course we both like mine better than anything we've had in a restaurant ;)


For this recipe, I'm sharing my proportions for 2-3 people. 2 big eaters, 3 light eaters, and if you just added an extra egg, this would work for 4 light eaters without any other adjustments. This isn't the kind of recipe you need to follow exactly, you can easily adjust proportions based on your own preferences and what you have on hand, and the result will be perfectly fine.


2 T butter
1 T lard or bacon dripping
2-3 rashers of uncooked thick cut bacon, chopped (see substitution note)
1 onion, halved and sliced
1 potato, quartered and sliced (thinner cooks faster), raw or cooked
1/4-1/2 cup chopped ham (see ingredient note below)
3 eggs
Paprika, 1-2T or less if you don't like paprika that much
Parsley leaves, chopped, 4-5 leaves
Chives or the green part of scallions, chopped, about 1/2 T
1/4 mild flavored cheese (like Edam), shredded (optional), because I'm American I like cheese on everything, but this is definitely NOT a traditional German ingredient!
Sour cream or Creme Fraiche for serving (optional)

Substitution Note: If you don't have bacon on hand, increase the lard or bacon dripping to 2T (really it's enough fat in the pan to keep things from sticking, so use your best judgement).

Note about Ham: You can use thin sliced deli ham for this, but if you do, you'll want to have some nice thick cut bacon as well or else it won't have a good depth of flavor. If you use thin cut ham, about 1/4 cup along with the chopped bacon should suffice. If you don't have bacon, this is a great way to use leftover ham from a big ham roast. The ham roast will have a nice depth of flavor that holds up well such that you don't need to also add bacon. Again, use your judgement and experiment according to what you have on hand. This is peasant food after all :)


1. Saute potato, onion, and bacon if using over medium-low heat in the fats and add 1T of paprika plus some salt and pepper. If you are using ham from a roasted ham, add that now. Saute until the potatoes are soft. I recommend using a cast iron skillet and covering the skillet if the potato slices are on the thicker side. This will take around 10-15 minutes. Check the potato slices for doneness, they should be soft. If you are using cooked potato, saute until heated through, this should only take about 5 minutes.

2. Beat the eggs with 1T paprika, salt, pepper, chives, and parsley. If you are using thin sliced deli ham, add it to the egg mixture. Pour over the potato and onion mixture in the skillet. Cook until the bottom of the eggs look mostly set. You can cover it during this cooking period, I find it helps the eggs to cook more evenly.

3.  Use a spatula to scramble the eggs around a bit and get any stuck bits off the bottom of the skillet. At this point, you can sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of the egg and potato mixture. Again, you can cover it or not, your choice really. I find it helps things to cook through a bit faster, but that's me.

Cheese is definitely not part of a traditional German Bauernfrühstück!

4. Once the egg mixture is fully cooked (and cheese melted if you added cheese), turn off the heat and serve it up!

I like mine with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche, but it's perfectly acceptable to just eat it plain, or even just sprinkle a bit of parsley over top. If it tastes a little flat, try a few drops of fresh lemon juice.

I make this every weekend, sometimes both Saturday and Sunday, or if I'm working from home and have the time or energy I'll even make it then. It takes about 30 minutes if you're using raw potatoes, but with cooked it takes about 10-15. Years ago in college, I made Spanish tortillas all the time because they were easy, cheap, nutritious and satisfying, and they kept well in the fridge. Bauernfrühstück does not keep quite as well but if you keep it at room temperature and your kitchen isn't too warm, then you can eat it the next morning. Putting it in the fridge will alter the starch in the potatoes, making it less desirable to eat.

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