Dear early risers (or not, as the case may be),
I love a good breakfast casserole! They're so easy to make, and fun to serve. I have a few favorites, but this one is especially delicious. We made it for breakfast on Christmas day, and it was such a big hit we had to have an encore on New Year's Day!
The original recipe is from the Williams-Sonoma catalog; I made a few minor variations of my own.
Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons ground mustard or whole-grain mustard
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 lb pork breakfast sausage links
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch strips
Optional: 1 small to medium mild onion, minced
4 - 12 oz spinach, washed, dried, and chopped into bite-size pieces
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated Gruyere, white cheddar, or sharp cheddar cheese
Optional: Extra cheese for sprinkling
Optional: 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
In a bowl, combine milk, eggs, and mustard. Whisk or blend until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the flour and the 1 teaspoon salt, and blend for 30 to 60 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight (I find the second option more realistic for a "breakfast" casserole!).
Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly grease an 8x8 or 11x7 glass casserole dish (if doubling, use a 9x13 dish). (If you have an oven-safe 12-inch skillet, don't grease a casserole but see note in italics below.)
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a frying pan (if you are going to bake it in the skillet, use a 12-inch skillet here); add the sausages and brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to the casserole dish. Return the pan to the stove and add another teaspoon of oil; saute bell pepper and onion if using, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Spread over the sausages in the casserole dish. Heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add spinach, season with salt and pepper, and cook briefly until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread over bell peppers in the casserole dish. (If you have a 12-inch skillet appropriate for baking, just set the cooked ingredients aside on a plate as they finish. Once the skillet is empty, grease it appropriately and layer in the vegetables and sausage. Continue following the directions below.)
Remove batter from the refrigerator and stir in cheese. Pour over the sausage and vegetables in the casserole dish. If desired, sprinkle top of casserole with additional cheese.
Bake until the batter is puffy and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Do not open the oven door early. Garnish with chives if desired and serve piping hot!
Serves 4 to six. Appropriate condiments: ketchup, sour cream, syrup, hot chocolate!
Celebrating a little bit of life every day,