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Sourdough Bread Breakfast Casserole

This savory concoction is perfect for a cozy breakfast, a holiday, or celebration brunch. The bonus is you can even put it all together the night before and bake it the next day, making it even more of a celebration meal for the cook.

There two ways to make this overnight delight. The bread, egg, and milk are a must do the night before. I make my own sourdough bread, using my fantastic starter named Moxie. If you are buying bread, don't buy sliced, you need chunky bread cubes. Moving on to the rest of the filing, this too can be made the night before. You will need to store them separately. You want all the eggy goodness to soak into the bread first. Options with the balance of the filling are cooking the night before or cooking the baking day.

I used kale for this batch; collards are also a great option. Most people would go spinach here, but I did not care for the texture. A sturdy green is best, but as always, substitute at will. This is definitely a crowd-pleaser. It generously fills a 9x13 pan. I made this batch in a 12x12 ceramic baker. If you needed once for each end of the table, it could be split between two baking pans. If you are adjusting the pan size, be sure to adjust baking times as well.

Speaking of pans, when I butter the baking pan for this, I rubbed 1 tablespoon of butter along the bottom, corners, and sides. The additional tablespoon of butter I break into small dabs and dot the pan's bottom before adding the mixture. This method prevents ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Sourdough Bread Breakfast Casserole

1 lb of Sourdough Bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

9 eggs

3 cups half-and-half

1 tsp ground black pepper

6-8 ounces ham, diced

2 Tbl bacon grease

2 cups kale or collards, thinly sliced

1 medium onion, diced

1 medium red pepper, seeded and diced

1 Leek, cleaned, half-moon sliced, mostly just the white part

5 ozs freshly grated parmesan

2 Tbl butter

The night before baking

Preheat oven 350

Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet toast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, depending on how fresh the bread is. No need to brown them, just toast them a bit. Remove from oven set aside. Using a large bowl with enough room for the bread, whisk eggs, half and half, and pepper until blended. Slowly mix in the toasted bread cubes. Cover and store in refrigerator overnight.

On the day of baking

Preheat oven to 350 - Butter 9x13 baking dish

Cut and discard the leek's dark green end, leaving the light green, cut the leek in half lengthwise. Rinse in cold water, then thinly slice crosswise into half-moons, pat dry. Grate the parmesan cheese. Fold both the leeks and parmesan into the soaked bread.

*Heat a large skillet on medium-high, add bacon grease allow that to heat. Add the ham, onion, pepper, stirring frequently, then add kale. Cook until onions become translucent and the kale has wilted. Add to the bread, leek, and parmesan, mix gently to combine. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish, cover with foil, bake 35 minutes, remove foil continue to bake another 15 minutes until the top is golden brown. Ovens all vary; test with a toothpick when it is clean the bake is complete. Serve piping hot. Enjoy!

*If you want, you can complete this step the day before, store it in the refrigerator, then mix it with the bread mixture before baking. Do not combine hot filling and bread ingredients if keeping overnight.

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