My latest kitchen weapon is a cast iron pan. I’ve wanted one for years, and just days after owning my first, I went out and bought a second in a bigger size. If you don’t own a cast iron pan, or know what makes them so amazing, you’re missing out. Okay, here are some quick benefits of cooking with cast iron:
- It’s sturdy and will last a really long time
- It can handle serious heat – on the stove, in the oven, over fire – anything
- It also distributes heat really well, making cooking a dream
- If seasoned correctly, they are non stick and easy to clean
- It acts as a great barbecue replacement for those who can’t have a BBQ on their balcony, like me
- They are extremely versatile and can be used to cook almost anything.
I was serious when I said you can use this thing over a fire. A few weeks ago we went camping, and we used my new cast iron pan to cook every meal, including this unhealthier version of a breakfast skillet and even a late night poutine.
Okay, back to this dish now. With my new cast iron pan in hand, I decided to make something that I wasn’t able to in my pre-cast iron days – a hearty and healthy breakfast skillet. One of my favourite parts of cast iron is the ability to go from stove to oven, just like that.
Sweet Potato Quinoa Breakfast Skillet
1 cup cooked quinoa
2 sweet potatoes, baked, peeled and cubed
1 large white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of fresh chives, chopped
Salt, pepper and smoked paprika to taste
Eggs (however many you want or will fit in your skillet)
Start by cooking your quinoa and sweet potato. I typically have these things cooked on hand to use throughout the week. Trying to find time to bake a sweet potato in the morning isn’t really all that realistic. Try it out. Baked sweet potato keeps well and can be used in dishes like this, or in salads, soups, baked goods or as a side.
Okay, it’s time to get our skillet on. Set your cast iron skillet on your stove over medium heat. Preheat your oven to 400F. When your pan is hot, add your onions and garlic, sautéing for about 5 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add in your sweet potato cubes and continue to stir often, but not continuously. Letting them sit in one spot for 30-60 seconds will help the sweet potatoes gain a little crispy crust on them, which is delicious.
After a couple of minutes, add your quinoa. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Continue to cook everything, stirring frequently and mixing well for another 2 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, create wells in your skillet for however many eggs you want to cook. As you can see, I made three eggs, meaning that I needed 3 wells. Crack you eggs into the wells, and season them with any spices as desired. Let sit on the stove for a couple minutes as the eggs begin to set.
Transfer the cast iron pan into the preheated oven and cook for another 3-8 minutes, depending on how well done you like your yolks. Remove from the oven and garnish with your fresh chives, which will not only add to the flavour of this dish, but will introduce some nice colour.
While this recipe errs on the side of healthy, feel free to add some bacon, sausage or cheese to this dish to spruce it up.
Using a flat bottomed spatula, serve this dish with one egg as the centrepiece.