Weekend Recipe: Slow-Cooker Brunch Casserole

Photo: Cook's Country
Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

Keep this savory dish courtesy of America's Test Kitchen highlighted in your brunch recipe archive. It's indispensable when you have guests over: prep this overnight and program the slow cooker to start early in the morning. That leaves you to time to make an Apple Buckwheat Cake or Grapefruit and Blood Orange Compote to go with a side of oatmeal. Happy brunching!

Slow-Cooker Brunch Casserole
Serves 8 to 10

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
12 ounces bulk breakfast sausage
2 onions, chopped fine
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
14 ounces baguette, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (12 cups)
12 ounces pepper Jack cheese, shredded (3 cups)
3 cups half-and-half
12 large eggs
Salt and pepper
4 scallions, sliced thin

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Grease slow-cooker insert with butter. Cook sausage, onions, and bell peppers in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until well browned, about 10 minutes, breaking up sausage with spoon. Stir in chipotle and adobo sauce, garlic, and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer sausage mixture to large bowl, add bread, and stir until thoroughly combined.

Arrange half of bread mixture in even layer in prepared slow cooker. Sprinkle 1 cup pepper Jack over bread mixture. Arrange remaining bread mixture in even layer over cheese.

Whisk half-and-half, eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in bowl, then pour custard evenly over casserole. Using spatula, press gently on bread mixture to partially submerge in custard. Sprinkle remaining 2 cups pepper Jack over casserole. Cover and cook until center of casserole is set and registers 160 degrees, 2 1/2 to 4 hours on low.

Let casserole cool, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Sprinkle scallions over top and serve.

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