Friday, December 9, 2016

Baked Egg Bowls

Last Year's Post: Southwest Eggrolls (baked not fried)
Two Years Ago:   Bang Bang Turkey

These egg bowls are basically little quiches baked in a roll.  They're great for a birthday or holiday breakfast and really fun if you're entertaining a group for brunch.  Set out a number of fillings and let everyone choose their own, then have a big pitcher of the beaten egg mixture at the end to fill each roll as they're done.  Put them on one or two big baking sheets lined with parchment (and have everyone write their initials on the parchment next to their bowl so you can remember whose is whose) then serve Bloody Marys, Bellinis, Mimosas or a variety of juices while they bake.  Complete the meal with a big fruit salad and you're done because the egg bowls are quite filling.

I particularly like that beaten eggs are used rather than cracking an egg on top of each one and trying to pull each bread bowl out of the oven at the exactly right second when the egg yolk is cooked just to that person's preference (and hopefully the whites are fully cooked).  Who needs that kind of pressure?  Although the individual bowls are especially cute, you could also use longer loaves and cut them into pieces for serving.  But I love the idea of letting each person make their own.  Here are some ideas for fillings to set out:

Meats:  diced ham, cooked hot or mild Italian sausage, cooked crumbled bacon, cooked chorizo
Vegetables: diced red onion, sliced green onions, sauteed diced bell peppers, chopped spinach, sauteed mushrooms, chopped kale, diced jalapenos
Herbs:  cilantro, parsley, basil, thyme
Shredded cheeses:  mozzarella, Gruyere, fontina, pepper jack

Assembly is easy.

The only caution is to be careful when you're tearing out the insides of the bread so you don't go too far and rip a hole. That would be bad.  I used Asiago telera rolls because I liked the size and shape and thought the Asiago might add some extra flavor.

The other thing I like is that the edges of the bread get crispy while the bottom remains soft.  If using rolls, you could toast the top of the roll (or not) to serve alongside the bread bowl for those who might want to eat it like a sandwich (can you say kids?).   Be sure to let the rolls cool for at least 10 minutes before letting anyone chomp into it like a sandwich because they're quite hot and retain the heat remarkably well when enclosed.  Speaking from experience, burning the roof of your mouth is not fun.

Baked Egg Bowls
Serves 10
Note:  any type of cooked meat, vegetables, cheeses and herbs may be substituted.

10 round Kaiser or Telera rolls, or 2 (1-lb) Italian of French baguettes, 14”x4”, unsliced
8 oz. hot or mild Italian sausage
1 medium red or yellow sweet pepper, chopped
½ cup sliced green onions (about 4 total)
10 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup whipping cream or half-and-half
¼ cup snipped fresh basil
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups shredded Gruyere or mozzarella cheese (6 oz)

Preheat oven to 350d.

Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with parchment paper.  Using a serrated knife, cut the top off the rolls (or cut a wedge into the top of each long loaf, cutting to about 1 inch from each long side).  Use a spoon or your fingers to carefully remove the inside of each roll or loaf, leaving about a ¾” thick shell.  Arrange bread shells on the prepared baking pan.

Remove casings from sausage if present.  In a large skillet, crumble and cook sausage until just cooked through; add peppers and green onions and sauté one minute more. Remove from heat; drain off any fat.

In a large glass measure combine eggs, cream, basil and salt. 

In each bread shell, layer the sausage mixture and divide up 1 cup of the cheese. Carefully pour egg mixture into bread shells.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until eggs are set and the top is lightly browned. 

Let stand for 5 minutes to cool slightly.  If using long loaves, carefully cut into 5 slices each using a serrated knife.

Prepare Ahead: cook the sausage, peppers and onions in advance; cool store covered in the refrigerator.  When ready to bake, proceed with the remaining instructions.

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