Strictly speaking, this is not a post from a cookbook. But it does come from a recipe by a cookbook author, which is close enough. And it’s delicious. Really delicious. And perfect to take to a brunch.
Our church has brunch potlucks fairly regularly, and I’ve made this in some form or another for many of them. It is easy to assemble, bakes up in an hour and can be customized to your heart’s content.
The original recipe, by “The Pioneer Woman” Ree Drummond (found here on foodnetwork.com) doesn’t have much to fancy it up, which is fine, since it’s tasty as is. But I’ve played with the bread, using day old onion buns, and added more flavour with roasted red peppers that I froze back in the summer when peppers were cheap and temps were suited to using the grill.
In the past I’ve even added crumbled sausage and I’m guessing that bacon would be great. Ooh, maybe some flavoured cream cheese too. The bread possibilities are endless, with everything from day old bagels or croissants to stale focaccia, ciabatta or kaiser rolls. The whole thing could be made healthier by using whole wheat bread or buns, low fat cream cheese (which I do use) and grated cheese, skim milk, less butter (!) and lots of veggies. If you try it, let me know how it goes. This is a once in a while treat, so I don’t mind not making it super healthy.
I’ve made this with fresh buns. I prefer the result with staler bread products, as they more readily absorb the egg and milk mixture.
Cheesy Brunch Bake
– adapted from Ree Drummond’s “Sleepin in Omelette”
3/4 cup salted butter
6-8 day old onion buns
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese (though Gouda or Provolone would be nice)
1/2 cup chopped roasted red pepper
8 ounces cream cheese (low fat is fine)
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
10 large eggs
Black pepper, optional
Spray or grease a 9×13 casserole.
Tear the buns into medium chunks and fill the pan. Sprinkle over the cheese and red peppers (or whatever other flavour element you’d like). Cut or tear the cream cheese and butter into pieces and distribute them evenly over the top. Don’t worry about the amount of butter. It melts in and moistens the bread/egg underneath.
In a large-ish bowl or big measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard and salt. Pour this over the bread and cheese, making sure to get it everywhere. Grind over some black pepper if you’d like.
Cover the dish with either non-stick or greased foil and leave it in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, preheat the oven to 325F. Bake the casserole, covered, for 45 minutes before increasing the oven temp to 350F and removing the foil. Bake a further 15 minutes. It will be bubbly and butter may seem molten, but it will settle in as it rests, which it should for at least 15 minutes. Enjoy with fresh fruit to offset all the delicious cheesy goodness.