Most Southerners will remember this make-ahead casserole from their childhood. David Hagedorn makes the dish richer by adding croissant cubes; pork or lamb sausage also works well. Using a mixture of cheese gives the dish more depth.
Servings: 8 - 10
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken sausage
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove chopped garlic
- 4 cups day-old French bread, with crusts, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 2 stale croissants, cubed
- 12 large eggs
- 2 cups low-fat milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard or 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound shredded cheese of choice (Monterey Jack, cheddar, Gruyere, Swiss, mozzarella)
Have ready a large, rectangular baking dish (or other 3-quart ovenproof baking dish) sprayed with nonstick spray oil.
Remove the sausage from its casings and break into chunks. In a large pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, then the sausage and chopped garlic and cook, stirring, until sausage is browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Strain in a colander and then drain on paper towels. Transfer the mixture to prepared dish.
In a large bowl, mix the French bread and croissant cubes. Scatter cubes on the sausage mixture.
In a large bowl, using a whisk or a hand-held mixer, combine eggs, milk, cream, mustard, salt and pepper until well blended. Add cheeses and mix until combined. Pour the custard mix over the casserole. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with a nonstick spray oil and place it, sprayed side down, over the casserole. Refrigerate overnight.
When ready to bake, remove the casserole from refrigerator and bring to room temperature (at least 15 minutes) while preheating the oven to 325 degrees. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until casserole is golden brown and puffed, 15 to 20 minutes. The casserole is done when a knife inserted into the center yields no liquid. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from chef and former restaurateur David Hagedorn.
Tested by Hal Mehlman.
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