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Monday, 6 January 2014

Spinach, Ham & Cheese Brunch Casserole

We've really been enjoying the wonderful taste of the sourdough starter breads and rolls lately.  This recipe is a delicious use for the gluten-free sourdough brown bread I make. I was inspired by some suggestions for brunch casseroles in the Food Network Magazine, and tweaked things around to make a gluten-free version that had all the ingredients I love.  This version has been a hit with the whole family. So much so that I made it for our friends Julie and Jeremy who came for dinner, and they loved it as well.  I find it's a wonderful dish for any time of day, even thought I've called it a brunch casserole.  It reheats wonderfully, and it also nice chilled, like a quiche.  While I love quiche, this is a wonderful alternative - perfect for a chilly day! Enjoy!

Ready to eat! 

Spinach, Ham & Cheese Brunch Casserole
Serves 6-8
Prep ~20 minutes, Sitting time ~30 minutes, Baking/resting time ~1 hr.

Butter a 9x13 pan.

In a large frying pan, heat at medium heat:
2-3 Tbsp olive oil

Add and saute until tender:
2 large shallots, diced OR 2 small onions, diced

Add, stirring until wilted:
4-5 large handfuls of baby spinach
salt & pepper, optional

Remove from heat and set aside.

Chop up one loaf of gluten-free sourdough brown bread, ideally one day old (or bread of your choice, ideally 1 day old) into 1" cubes.  You should have 8-9 cups.  (I have a 9 cup tupperware that I put my 1" cubes into once chopped after baking/cooling my bread, then I'm ready to make this casserole the next day)

Place 1/2 your bread cubes into the bottom of the 9x13 pan.

Sprinkle over top of the bread:
2 cups grated flavored cheese (flavored gouda (I've used a nice mustard & pepper, and an italian-seasoned gouda), strong cheddar, or similar density cheese w/ flavor of your choice would work well)
One half bread cubes topped by 2 cups grated flavored Gouda

Spread over top of cheese:
Cooked spinach & onions
1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped ham (cubed ham or slices of ham, diced)

Top with remaining cubes of bread.

Mix together, and then pour evenly over pan:
10 eggs
1.5 cups cream (lactose free works great)
1.5 cups milk (2%) (lactose free works great)
1 - 1.5 tsp salt
Spinach mixture, then ham, then bread cubes, then egg and milk/cream mixture, prior to covering.

Cover pan with plastic wrap and let sit 30 minutes.  Remove plastic wrap.  Bake at 325F for 50 minutes, or until set in the center.  Let sit 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

This is great fresh and hot, but also wonderful as leftovers either cold or warm.  I find it's similar to a tasty quiche, but with the crust throughout.


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