If there’s anything better than excellent Thanksgiving or Christmas side stuffing, it’s stuffing cakes made from the leftovers. Makes the perfect hangover breakfast!
This is one of those leftover Thanksgiving recipes I had been thinking about for years but just made for the first time this week. We almost always make some sort of hash with our favorite leftover stuffing and either top it with fried eggs or even bake eggs right into it but this year I wanted to try something different. Fancier, if you will.
This is now, officially, my favorite use of leftover stuffing ever. And it’s so, so simple. Add a bit of egg, form a patty, fry in a pan. Top with a poached egg.
The thing that elevates this to the stars is the unbelievably delicious chive hollandaise. If I had any idea how tasty and especially how easy it is to make this sauce, well… let me tell you that it would have been part of our Nerds brunch repertoire a long time ago.
Stuffing cakes – not just leftovers!
For years I’ve had the idea of topping a stuffing cake with poached eggs but when I saw this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, I decided to add crispy pancetta and hollandaise sauce. I’ve made a few changes (baking the pancetta instead of frying, chives instead of sage in the sauce), but the overall concept is the same.
Now that we’ve used up all the stuffing, we’ll make this using a base of english muffins, roasted tomatoes or portabello mushrooms.
- Here’s a post with detailed instructions on how to perfectly poach eggs. Of course you could fry the eggs instead if you prefer.
- We used leftovers from our Sausage, Apple and Sage Stuffing which is quite chunky. To make it a bit finer, we pulsed it a few seconds in the food processor. This helps to make a slightly more uniform patty.
- If using a different herb (like sage, for instance), start with a bit less and taste to make sure it’s not too strong.
- Shockingly, you can even make the hollandaise in advance. If you need to chill it, reheat it very carefully in the microwave. 8 -10 seconds may be enough to loosen it perfectly.
- ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 3 egg large yolks, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Stuffing Cakes:
- About 2 to 3 cups leftover stuffing (pulsed lightly in a food processor if it's extremely chunky)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 6 thin slices pancetta
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 6 eggs, at room temperature
- For the hollandaise: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat (or in the microwave). Combine the yolks, chives, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and pulse to incorporate. Slowly drizzle the hot butter into the blender until the sauce is thick and creamy. Pour the sauce into a small bowl and set aside.
- For the stuffing cakes: Place the stuffing in a large bowl, and mix to break up any large clumps. Add the eggs and stir well to combine, making sure the eggs are mixed in. Scoop ⅓ cup of the stuffing into your hands and shape into a patty, about 3-inches wide and ½ inch thick. Repeat to make 6 stuffing cakes. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and cook the cakes until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side (do this in batches if necessary). Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and repeat with the remaining cakes. Loosely cover with foil to keep the cakes warm.
- Heat oven to 375 F. Arrange the pancetta in a single layer on a foil-lined baking tray and bake until browned and crispy, about 7-10 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
- To assemble, fill a deep, wide skillet with water, not quite to the top and bring to a full boil. Meanwhile, crack each egg into a little cup or ramekin and set aside. Once the water is at a full boil, turn it way down until it’s just barely simmering. Add a big pinch of kosher salt (about a ½ teaspoon) and the vinegar. Give the water a stir to combine.
- With the handle of a wooden spoon, swirl the water in a tight little circle and drop the first egg right in the middle. You can use the wooden spoon to kind of coax the white in a little bit but don’t be too stressed about it. It will come together, I promise. Do the same with the other eggs, leaving as much space as possible between each one.
- Let them poach in the gently simmering water for about 3-4 minutes. Using the slotted spoon, scoop one up, and check it for doneness. For me, a perfect poached egg has a fully set white and a very runny yolk. If you like your yolk more set, let it cook a minute or so longer. Once it’s done to your liking, gently remove them and set on a paper towel to drain.
- Repeat with the remaining eggs. To serve, place one stuffing cake on a plate. Top with a slice of pancetta, a poached egg and a generous drizzle of hollandaise sauce.