Saturday, May 24, 2014

Breakfast Casserole

I know, I know, breakfast casseroles come at a dime a dozen.  When I read this recipe it was a little different from most.  What intrigued me and made me want to give it a try was that the eggs are softly scrambled prior to being mixed with the milk and all the other things that the bread soaks in over night.  Also, cheese wasn't simply sprinkled over the casserole; a cheese sauce was made.

The recipe comes from a book I've had for almost 30 years called "Savoring the Southwest - A Cookbook and More From the Land of Enchantment".  It was compiled by the Roswell Symphony Guild and I have to say I'm disappointed that the cover didn't depict a space ship flying out of the clouds.

 Start by getting all of your ingredients measured, chopped, and grated. 

Chop the ham or buy it already cubed like I did.

 That's a lot of eggs!  Go ahead and get them all cracked in a large bowl

 I love fresh mushrooms, but I love mushrooms in a bottle too.  I specifically prefer them in a bottle over a can.  Many canned foods take on a metallic taste and mushrooms are one of them.  The jar I bought was 6 ounces instead of the suggested 4; so sue me.  I almost ate the whole jar by themselves.

Tear of up bread crumbs.  You'll need 4 cups.  I used a store bought loaf of Italian bread and trimmed the crust off & give to the birds; mine love me today as they got a real treat in the back yard.  You can use any white bread as long as it's soft; you don't want to use a dense white bread.

Ingredients for the base of the cheese sauce.  Milk, flour, butter and salt & pepper

Once the flour is thoroughly mixed with the butter allow the roux to cook for a minute to get rid of the flour-y taste

Heat the milk in the micro wave before slowly adding it to the roux.

Add the rated cheese, salt and pepper.  Stir until fully incorporated and smooth. 

Set your cheese sauce off the heat.

 In a large skillet melt 3 Tbsp of the butter and saute the ham until it has some nice color to it.

 Beat the eggs and add to the pan.  Cook until they form large, wet curds.  Don't over cook so that the eggs are dry, you want them nice and moist.

 Add the mushrooms and cheese sauce.  I also added one fresh jalapeno that I seeded, de-veined and minced.  Depending on how much heat you want you can leave the veins but I would definitely get rid of the seed; just a texture thing with me.

 Softly fold the mixture until incorporated.

 Pour into a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch casserole

 Melt the other 3 Tbsp butter then pour over the bread crumbs.

Toss the crumbs until all have been coated with the melted butter

Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the egg / cheese mixture.  Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate overnight.  At this point you can also freeze this dish.  If you do freeze, let it thaw in the refrigerator before you place in oven

The next morning when you are ready to bake, uncover the casserole and bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes or until heated through.

One of the things I really liked about this casserole was how the bread-crumb topping was buttery and really crispy, not soggy.

Breakfast Casserole
Adapted from Savoring the Southwest
Serves 12

1/2 cup butter plus 6 Tbsp. butter, divided
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
1 cup grated medium Cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup cubed cooked ham
12 eggs, beaten
1 jar (6 ounce) mushrooms, drained
1 to 2 fresh jalapeños

4 cups soft bread crumbs

Mise en Place:
  1. measure butter, divided into two 3-Tbsp portions and one whole stick
  2. measure flour
  3. measure milk
  4. measure salt & pepper
  5. grate cheese
  6. cube ham, if necessary
  7. crack eggs into large mixing bowl and beat
  8. drain mushrooms
  9. seed, de-vein and mince the jalapeño(s)
  10. trim bread and tear into crumbs
  11. spray casserole dish with vegetable spray
In a medium sauce pan melt 3 Tbsp of the butter.  Whisk in flour and incorporate well into a roux.  Allow to cook for one minute.  Heat the milk in the microwave for a minute or two until hot.  Slowly add to roux and whisk until smooth.  Allow to cook until it begins to thicken.  Add graded cheese and stir until smooth.  Add salt and pepper.  Set aside, off the heat.

In a large skillet melt the other 3 Tbsp of butter.  Add ham cubes and saute until lightly browned.  Add the beaten eggs and cook until the eggs are moist and large soft curds have formed.

Fold in the mushrooms, cheese sauce and jalapeño(s).  Pour this mixture into the greased casserole.

Melt the 1 stick of butter in a small saucepan.  Pour the butter over the bread crumbs and toss until all bread has been coated with the butter.  Sprinkle the bread over the top of the egg / cheese mixture.

Cover the casserole with foil and place in refrigerator overnight.

The next morning when ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350° and bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Allow to rest for 15 minutes before cutting.

No comments:

Post a Comment