Slow-Cooker Brunch Casserole
- 1 T butter
- 6 oz sausage (crumbled)
- 1 c finely chopped onion
- 1 chopped red bell pepper (stem & seeds removed)
- 1/2 T minced chipotle pepper (canned in adobo sauce)
- 1/2 t adobo sauce
- 1 t crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 t smoked paprika
- 1 t minced garlic
- 1/2 t ground cumin
- 7 oz baguette (cut into 1/2" pieces; 6 cups)
- 1.5 c shredded cheese (6 oz; mozzerella and cheddar blend, divided: 1/2 cup + 1 cup)
- 1.5 c single cream (or half and half)
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/8 t freshly ground black pepper
- 2 thinly sliced green onions
1. Heat oil in a medium, oven-proof pot, until hot. Cook sausage, onion, and bell pepper over medium-high heat until well browned, about 10 minutes, breaking up sausage with spoon. Stir in chipotle and adobo sauce, red pepper flakes, paprika, garlic, and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer sausage mixture to large bowl, add
bread, and stir until thoroughly combined.
2. Arrange half of bread mixture in even layer in oven-proof pot. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over bread mixture. Arrange remaining bread mixture in even layer over cheese.
3. Whisk cream, eggs, salt, and pepper together in bowl, then pour custard evenly over casserole. Using spatula, press gently on bread mixture to partially submerge in custard. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese over casserole. Cover and cook until center of casserole is set and registers 160 degrees, 2.5 to 4 hours on low.
4. Let casserole cool to firm up, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Sprinkle scallions over the top and serve.
Notes from Source:
For a kicked-up brunch casserole we cook breakfast sausage with plenty of onions and bell peppers and flavor the mixture with smoky minced chipotle chiles with spicy adobo sauce. To distribute the flavor evenly throughout the casserole, we toss the sausage mixture with cubes of sturdy baguette. To get maximum cheese flavor throughout, we layer half of the bread mixture into a buttered slow-cooker crock, sprinkle it with 6 ounces of pepper Jack cheese, pack in the rest of the bread-sausage mixture, and then pour a rich custard of half-and-half and eggs over the top. Another layer of cheese is sprinkled over the top, and we cook the casserole just until the eggs and bread are set on the low setting for gentle heat. Letting the casserole cool for 30 minutes allows the mixture to firm up for easy serving.
TO MAKE AHEAD: The casserole can be made through step 2, covered, and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Add custard and cheese just before cooking.