Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Egg overload

The chickens are doing well - really well. They are happy moving around in the ark and digging in the compost for worms (they like bugs, but worms are their favorite) whenever they get the chance. And they lay eggs. Lots of eggs. Six chickens = six eggs a day. We've been having frittas, french toast, scrambled eggs, egg salad, and quiche on a regular basis for dinner and we've still got eggs left over.

Last week my brain remembered that I've made an egg hogging breakfast casserole at Christmas that uses two dozen eggs in one go! I also remembered having lots left over, but that was before the boys hit adolescence and they would actually get full at a meal. Those days are long gone and I had no doubt we'd finish it this time.

It's a filling casserole, thanks to the half loaf of bread in it, so I divided the mixture between two pans and we had one for dinner and the other for a breakfast. I added some sauteed veg to the egg mixture (because I think veg are delicious with eggs and sausage) but I'm betting the original recipe is fine without it.

Cowboy Christmas Breakfast
adapted from Gourmet Today
serves 12

1 (1-pound) package bulk breakfast sausage (not links)
1 (15" long) loaf of Italian bread (about 4" wide)
1/2 stick (4 T.) unsalted butter, softened
24 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch scallions, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped (optional)
1 small zuchhini, sliced (optional)
3 roma tomatoes, chopped (optional)

Put a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter a 13-9 baking dish.
Cook sausage in a 12" heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring frequently and breakingup large lumps with a fork, until browned, about 10 minutes. Pour off fat from skillet (I used some of this fat to saute the veg) and cool sausage to room temperature.
Saute onions in the same skillet, if you wish, until translucent. Add zucchini and tomatoes and continue to cook until tomatoes have slightly broken down.
Cut 1-inch-thick slices from half of loaf; reserve remaining halve and end piece for anther use.
Pulse butter and garlic in a food processor until smooth (I mixed mine together in a bowl, small chunks of garlic don't bother me). Spread a thin layer of garlic butter on both sides of each slice of bread, arranging bread tightly in one layer in baking dish. Sprinkle sausage on top.
Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until frothy. Whisk in scallions, vegetables, and half of cheese. Pour egg mixture over sausage (bread will float to the top) and push down on bread with a spatula to help it absorb liquid. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Cover with a large sheet of buttered foil (buttered side down) and bake for 30 minutes. Carefully remove foil and bake until top is slightly puffed and eggs are cooked through in center, about 20 minutes more.
Let casserole cool for 10 minutes, then cut into 12 squares.

Note: This dis can be assembles up to 12 hours ahead and refrigerated, covered with buttered foil. Bake as directed.

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