(Almost a Tamale) Egg Casserole

by Kelly on December 30, 2010   

It's breakfast and lunch -- just what you need on New Year's Day

This is one of those make-ahead casseroles, the ones you put together the day before you want to cook it. We made up this one on Christmas Eve this year, to meet a number of criteria. One, we didn’t want to wake up on Christmas day and cook. Also, we had some dietary restrictions including a gluten-free diet, so the usual egg casserole with bread was out. My niece suggested a cornbread-based egg casserole, and that’s what we riffed on. The result tastes a little like a tamale, the Christmas food we were most missing, so it filled that void, too.

Make this on New Year’s Eve — it’s easy to put together, and it goes into the fridge overnight to soak up all the egg and cream. On New Year’s Day you’re all set to have a piping hot blue plate special before the Rose Parade is over.

Egg Casserole with Cornbread and Green Chilies | 8 servings

Included here is a recipe for the cornbread, but cornbread stuffing will work as a substitute. This cornbread recipe, however, is gluten-free since it contains no flour.

For the cornbread:
1 3/4 cup cornmeal (I used Bob’s Red Mill Medium Grind and it makes a “toothy” cornbread)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon melted butter, plus butter for the baking pan
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

For the egg casserole:
Butter for the baking dish
1 pound pork sausage, casing removed (I used “hot” sausage)
8 eggs
1 cup heavy cream (1/2 pint)
2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 8 ounces
4 cups crumbled cornbread
7 ounce can green chilies, in strips

For the cornbread: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Butter a small baking dish, approximately 7- by 10-inch. Mix together the cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

This is a medium grind cornmeal, but regular will work well

In a measuring cup, melt the butter and whisk in the egg. Add the milk and beat. Stir the milk mixture into the dry ingredients.

Don't over mix -- stir just enough to moisten all the dry ingredients

Pour into the baking dish and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

Try a little warm cornbread with butter and honey

Cool slightly, and crumble the cornbread into bite-sized pieces. Let dry out in a paper bag overnight, or in a 250°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Reserve 4 cups for the egg cassserole.

Spread cooked cornbread on a cookie sheet and dry out in the oven, tossing it occasionally as it dries

For the casserole: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Generously butter a large baking dish, approximately 9- by 14-inch.

Brown the sausage until deeply colored.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the cream, milk and salt until well-blended. Mix in half of the shredded cheese.

Layer the crumbled cornbread in the bottom of the butter dish. On top of that distribute the cooked sausage and the chiles.

I just tore the chiles into strips as I arranged them across the sausage

Pour the egg mixture evenly over the meat mixture.

The egg and milk soaks into the bread, making it tender and moist

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the casserole.

This makes a nice bubbly crust on top

Bake the casserole in the preheated 325°F oven for 45 minutes, or until puffy and brown on top.

The perfect holiday breakfast

Serve with sour cream and salsa, if you wish. And Happy New Year!

Kelly McCune © 2010
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Cathy B. @ Bright Bakes January 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm

wow, this looks yummy. I grew up on tamales but havent had them in eons…this could just satisfy that craving..love it!
cathy b. @ brightbakes

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