Mother's Day Brunch Casserole

Yesterday was Mother's Day, and like so many holidays in my family, we center activities on special days around food. My brother had the ingenious idea of bringing brunch/brinner *to* Mom. I volunteered to do the main dish, and also made some (partially whole grain) banana bread to accompany.

I wouldn't ordinarily think of serving eggs in the middle of the afternoon, but I had brunch stuck in my head, so that's just what happened. I have several good breakfast cookbooks (though some would be a little to 'earthy' for some folks' taste!). I turn to them for recipes or just inspiration when I'm responsible for part of meal. Two books came into play when I was browsing for ideas.

Gale Gand's Brunch was recommended on someones food blog recently (can't remember whose!), and I've been pouring over its interesting, innovative and elegant recipes in recent weeks. While I didn't use it for yesterday's meal, I would highly recommend taking a look at it, especially if you're having a more intimate gathering where you do not have to cook for a large number of people.

I did however use a recipe from the Big Book of Breakfast (a wonderful gift from my sister in law, Kathy) to jump off into my own creation. Here's what I ended up with:

Mother's Day Brunch Casserole

12 large eggs (preferably cage free, humanely raised)
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1 1/4 c milk (skim is fine)
1.5 c cheddar cheese
1.5 c jack or blend

12 oz bulk Italian sausage (you may use pork or chicken; I used pork here. Again, preferably humanely raised)
8 oz sliced mushrooms (button or cremini)
14 oz asparagus (please leave this out if it's not in season! Use something else that *is* in season.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray a 9 x 13 baking pan. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and begin to brown the sausage, breaking it up with a spoon. After about 5 minutes, add the mushroom and saute for a further 5 minutes. If using asparagus, add and saute for a final 3-4 minutes. Sausage should no longer be pink. (If using another vegetable, add earlier or later depending on how long it needs to cook to become somewhat tender). Pour the sausage mixture into the prepared baking dish.

In a large bowl, whisk your 12 eggs. In a measuring cup, add a splash of the milk (about 1/4 cup) and your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and mustard powder), and whisk to remove lumps as best possible. Add the remainder of the milk to the measuring cup, then add the contents of the measuring cup to the eggs and whisk vigorously to blend. Add 1/2 of the cheeses to the egg mixture and whisk to mix. Pour the egg mixture over the sausage mixture in the baking pan and sprinkle with the remaining cheese*. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with a green salad and some fresh fruit.

Serves 8 hungry people.

*You may reduce the cheese a bit if you would like. It won't suffer terribly if you leave out 1/2 -3/4 cup to save a few calories.

I left our Mother's Day celebration without any leftovers. There were 8 of us. My favorite thing is to leave empty handed!

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