Brioche, Sausage, and Egg Bake

I came across a breakfast casserole calling for brioche, sausage, cheese, and eggs, but; instead if whipping the eggs into the milk and cream cheese mixture, they are added on top, in little divots made in the sausage and brioche surface. You could prep it and bake it all at once, too, instead of popping it into the fridge to chill overnight; though next time I make this (and there will be a next time), I believe that I will, in fact, prep the casserole up to and including adding the simmered milk and cream cheese, then covering and popping the whole thing in the fridge; add the eggs and cheese just before baking – which I believe will make it easier to shape those little egg cups.

Well, you’ll see…

First, you’re gonna want to make, or find at your market, a brioche loaf. Our market’s bakery happens to carry brioche loaves sliced for sammiches, brioche hamburger rolls, and mini brioche baguettes, which is what I used for this recipe.

Thing is, I had already sliced the baguettes and slathered ’em with my garlic cheese butter before stashing ’em in the freezer for a garlic bread kinda day.

Well… as it happens, extra butter and garlic and herbs and stuff is practically perfect in every way; so I’ve added the garlic cheese butter, just in case you wanna go for a little sumpin’ sumpin’ extra.

INGREDIENTS
Garlic Cheese Bread Spread:
•2 tsp Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle
•2 tsp pizza seasoning
•1 tsp garlic powder
•1/4 tsp onion powder
•1/4 tsp chives
•1/4 tsp parsley
•1/4 tsp oregano
•1/4 tsp basil
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/4 tsp tomato powder
•8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

Croutons:
•3 cups cubed brioche
•1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Sausage Mixture:
•8 oz pork sausage
•2 cups diced sweet onion
•3 cloves garlic, chopped
•2 cups sliced ‘shrooms
•2 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•Black pepper

Cream:
•2 cups whole milk
•1 cup garlic chive whipped cream cheese
•1 tbsp sherry vinegar
•1 tsp dried parsley
•1 tsp dried chives
•1/4 tsp garlic powder
•Black pepper

Eggs:
•6 eggs
•Shredded cheese

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

First things first, if you’ve decided to add the garlic cheese spread, cut your brioche in half lengthwise (for baguettes) or mebbe into quarters (for larger loaves) and spread with the garlic cheese mixture. Cut the brioche into cubes and toss with the additional melted butter to coat.

Arrange in a single layer in a pan and bake in a hot 425º oven until the croutons are golden brown and crispity – mebbe seven to ten minutes. Arrange the toasted croupons in the bottom of a 2-1/2 quart (about 11×9″) baking pan and set aside.

Brown sausage, breaking up, in a pan over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic and cook, stirring and breaking up the sausage for six minutes.

Add the seasonings and the ‘shrooms, stir to combine, then continue to cook, stirring often, until most of the pan liquids have been cooked off and the mixture is nicely browned and crispity in spots. Drain well, then add to the croutons in the baking pan, stirring to distribute more or less evenly.

Note: though I quite liked them, Rich was not thrilled about the ‘shrooms, so feel free to leave them out and just stir in the Sherry Peppers, hot sauce, and black and Aleppo peppers and cook for mebbe five minutes.

Wipe out the pan you used to cook the sausage and add the milk, cream cheese, and remaining ingredients.

Cook, stirring often, over medium low heat until the cream cheese has melted and the mixture has come to a simmer.

Allow to simmer for five minutes, still stirring often, then pour over the crouton and sausage mixture in the baking pan.

Here is where I plan on covering and stashing the pan in the fridge overnight before completing the dish.

Reason One: it will make putting breakfast on the table much simple, instead of getting up and doing all of this prep work first thing in the morning.

Reason Two: I think that the rest will allow the milk and cream cheese mixture to really soak into the brioche mixture, which will make creating “egg cups” in the pan much easier.

Heat your oven to 425º and, if you’ve let your casserole rest in the fridge, bring it out and allow it to come to room temperature.

Using a small bowl or prep cup, go ahead and make six divots in the crouton and sausage mixture.

Note: the original recipe I’ve adapted this from called for using eight eggs, but I didn’t really think this sized baking pan was big enough for that.

Break an egg into a small bowl and pour into one of the prepared divots.

Repeat with the remaining eggs.

Sprinkle the top with shredded cheese, I opted to outline each “egg cup” with cheese, then pop into the oven.

Add a bit of freshly ground black pepper over the top, if you like.

Bake until the egg whites are set and the yolks are as runny or firm as you like them, ten to twenty minutes.

Note: the original recipe claimed that the eggs would be perfect in eight to ten minutes, but in my oven, which is generally spot on, it took more like twenty for the whites to set and give us the runny yolks we prefer, so you may want to keep an eye on the casserole while it’s baking.

As you can see, the casserole came out looking pretty darned good, and tasting better than it looked – well, except for Rich and the ‘shrooms.

I served ours as “breakfast for dinner” with a cucumber fruit salad.

Nice.

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