Brunch is one of our favorite meals and when our family gets together we go don’t shy away from a big brunch. Brunch and breakfast casseroles have made the rounds and most of us have numerous recipes on hand. This is a dish we’ve made for years but recently adjusted thanks in part to Matthew, my favorite son-in-law!
Matthew is truly the epitome of a Southern gentleman and not one to ever complain about anything you place on the table. So when he offered a suggestion on the proportions of ingredients we took it to heart. His thought, less bread in the casserole and boy was he spot on!
Emily and I did some tweaking on this recipe and love the results. The original version used 8 cups of bread, we’ve carved it back to 3. We scaled the cheese back to a total of 2 cups, but if you like more cheese, by all means add more. And use your favorite cheese or a mixture. Fontina, white cheddar, Havarti and Gruyère are favorites in our family.
For the hash brown potatoes, Simply Potatoes are a wonderful option to grating your own potatoes. They can be found in the dairy section of most food markets and great to have on hand. They keep refrigerated for about two months.
You want to plan ahead for this one; it needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least eight hours or overnight. It makes a large casserole, enough to feed a crowd and it reheats easily. If you have leftovers, add a soup or salad and you’ve got lunch or dinner. Simply cover and reheat at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes or until the casserole is hot in the center.
Similar to a quiche this casserole is layered with eggs, dairy and cheese. The addition of sausage and hash brown potatoes will make it a hit with the heartiest of appetites in your family.
Egg and Sausage Brunch Casserole
3 cups cubed bread, preferably Challah, Brioche or soft Italian
3 tablespoons butter
1 small sweet onion, chopped-about 1 cup
1 package hash brown potatoes, 20 ounces or 4 cups freshly grated potatoes
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound pork breakfast or Italian sausage
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Fontina cheese
8 extra-large eggs
2-1/4 cups milk
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Layer the cubed bread in the bottom of a 13” x 9” baking dish that has been sprayed with a cooking spray.
In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat, then add the chopped onion. Sauté until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the hash brown potatoes, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper, stirring well to combine with the onion. Stir frequently to prevent the potatoes from sticking to the pan. Cook for about 8-10 minutes.
Spread the potatoes and onions over the bread cubes.
Add the olive oil to the skillet and cook the sausage over medium heat, breaking it up as it cooks.
Once the sausage is cooked through and no longer pink, spread it over the potatoes and onions. Top with the grated cheese.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper and nutmeg. Pour the egg mixture over the casserole. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
Prior to baking, pull the casserole our of the refrigerator and let it set at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until the eggs are gently set, no longer “liquid”in the center and it’s golden on top. (Test by inserting a knife in the center.)
Let the casserole rest for about five minutes before cutting.
Add fresh fruit with coconut yogurt and brunch is served!