I am always happy to join a debate. In this instance the subject of much contention is a divisive one; the best choice for a Sunday brunch. In my opinion this meal has the propensity to be the highlight of any weekend, probably second only to a Sunday roast. Executed well, brunch can revive and restore us, bring us together and fuel us for an entire day. Brunch should be savoured, slowly and sociably. I am confident that embracing the full immersion into an indulgent Sunday brunch can bring great happiness and content to even the most debilitated and jaded morning afters. I must confess now that I am not an aficionado of the full English breakfast, bringing with it too many elements and confusion, leading to a lack of cohesion and no area to focus your hunger on. For me, I like to address my attention to one or two core ingredients, usually reaching for bacon (back or streaky, always smoked) or sausages (hefty Cumberland or skinny chipolatas), occasionally both.
In this sense I suppose you could label me something of a purist. I like my main ingredients cooked well and served to excess, normally supplemented by some form of comforting carbohydrate vehicle. Whether that means American style thick and spongy pancakes, dripping in maple syrup and topped with gloriously salty, crisp streaky bacon, or my personal favourite, fat and juicy Cumberland sausages cooked to a caramel crusted golden brown, served in a warm and steamy, generously buttered baguette. Brunch should be taken seriously, this meal needs to be copious in both size and calorific content and above all else it should be comforting and restorative. Perhaps you will subsequently need a nap or a lie down, but what else did you have planned for Sunday morning?
This Sunday’s choice, inspired by Saturday night’s drunken brie purchase, consisted of a bacon and brie sandwich anointed with chipotle spiced ketchup. There is nothing new to the concept of salty bacon married with creamy, mild brie, yet, where I would usually reach for the cranberry sauce to sweeten my bacon and brie pairing, I decided to opt for the sweet and smoky chipotle chilli to enhance this savoury/creamy combination. The ketchup I used was a standard offering from my supermarket but please use any you can get your hands on or prefer. Chillies can in fact provide a sumptuous sweetness, whilst some may be hot, or verging on dangerously spicy, this sweet and spicy ketchup added a mouth-watering third element to my Sunday morning sandwich.
This is barely a recipe, more of an assembly task at best, but I am happy to advise on the fundamentals.
I used smoked back bacon (three slices per portion).
And a mild French brie, around four long slices should work.
Sandwiched in-between two slices of buttered – please use real butter – wholemeal bloomer (no crusty white loaf was available but this would be the preference).
Grill the bacon on a high heat on both sides until the fat is crisp, golden and sizzling.
Place the bacon on to your buttered and “ketchup’d” bread of choice and immediately top with brie to speed up the “oozing” process.
Slice, devour and enjoy alongside a steaming mug of tea.