I have, for many years, been searching and experimenting with recipes for a make-ahead breakfast casserole that is all egg. The classic breakfast casserole around here is sausage, cheese, and bread bound with an egg and milk custard, and I have made many variations of that. But I wanted something that didn’t include bread or other elements, because so often, a brunch spread includes them in other forms.
Okay, for the big holidays, indulgence is the norm – I have been known to serve a plate of bacon and a sausage casserole, cheesy grits, biscuits and muffins – but that is not always the way to go. It has been my goal to serve a simple, scrambled egg casserole alongside the bacon and ham and biscuits and preserves, not adding to the overload, just complimenting it. And most off all, I don’t want to be up early cracking eggs and cooking them to order.
This is the result of trial and error, combining the best bits of all sorts of community cookbook recipes. My version below is very simple, jazzed up only with a little sharp green onion and some chives, but the brilliance of this is its adaptability. Add ingredients that suit the rest of your brunch spread – a combination of other fresh herbs, some finely diced peppers or mushrooms, even a little bacon or ham.
Creamy scrambled egg casserole
5 tablespoons butter, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 (8-ounce) bar cream cheese
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in the flour until you have a smooth paste. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, until smooth. Add the nutmeg and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thickened and smooth, about five minutes. Cut the cream cheese into small cubes and whisk it, bit by bit, into the sauce until it is smooth and melted. Remove from the heat.
2. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk thoroughly, until the yolks are broken up and the eggs are well combined. Whisk in a dash of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Pour in the eggs and cook gently to form large, soft curds. Do not “scramble” the eggs too much, just gently push the cooked egg aside to let the uncooked egg cover the bottom of the pan.
3. When the eggs are almost cooked, but some uncooked liquid is left, remove the pan from the heat and pour the cream sauce over the top. Sprinkle over the chopped green onion and chives, then fold the sauce through the eggs. At this point, you can break up any large egg pieces to distribute evenly through the sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
4. Spread the eggs into a well-greased 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Leave to cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
5. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F., and cook the eggs just until heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.