If you've read my previous posts, it is probably obvious that I am big fan of brunch. If someone invites me over some weekend morning for breakfast and mimosas, I'm there with bells on... usually with a homemade coffee cake in hand!
But making brunch for a crowd can become a little bit daunting if the menu is complex. Eggs Benedict for two or three people may be no sweat, but change those numbers to ten or twelve and it can be a challenge to get all of the ingredients hot and ready in a timely fashion. Fortunately, there is an easy way to do a delicious morning meal for a crowd. Say hello to my mother-in-law's incredible egg & mushroom magic brunch dish.
I say "magic brunch dish" because nobody is quite sure what to call it, other than super-tasty-egg-thingie. The closest I can come is to say an 'Egg Bake', but I have not seen an egg bake quite like this one anywhere. Eggs are quickly mixed with sauteed mushrooms and milk-soaked bread, then baked in the oven with a covering of sliced Swiss cheese & panko breadcrumbs. Everything gets golden brown and crispy on top, and the eggs are always incredibly fluffy and packed with flavor. Those gooey layers of cheese seal the deal for me, and in all honesty, this is one of the best breakfast recipes I've ever eaten!
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Incredible Egg & Mushroom Bake
Makes about 8 servings
12 large eggs
3 cups cubed soft white bread with crusts removed (about 1 loaf's worth, or ~6 ounces of crustless bread)
2 cups milk
12-16 ounces mushrooms, sliced (it depends on how 'mushroomy' you want it. I like 16 ounces)
1 & 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
sliced Swiss cheese to cover top of dish (about 5-6 deli slices)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 400F.
Combine cubed, crustless, bread with milk and allow to soak for about 5 minutes, or until the bread is saturated. Drain & save the milk - I use a sieve and press most of the milk out of the bread with the back of a spoon.
While soaking bread, place sliced mushrooms in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped (see photo). This usually takes about 10-12 one second pulses.
Place the mushrooms in a nonstick pan with a pinch of salt (no oil or butter), and saute them until cooked and almost dry, stirring occasionally (they will release and evaporate their own liquid as they cook).
Beat eggs, mixing in the (recovered) milk, salt, and pepper. Place 2 tablespoons of butter in a hot pan, then scramble the eggs until barely done.
Add the drained bread to the eggs and mix well, chopping up the bread and egg curds with your spatula as you mix, to get the ingredients well incorporated. Add the cooked mushrooms, and mix them in as well.
Place the mixture into a casserole dish and smooth out the top (I use the back of a spoon). Add thin slices of Swiss cheese to cover the top (one well-covered layer is enough).
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and mix with the panko breadcrumbs. Cover the Swiss cheese with the breadcrumbs and smooth the layer out, then sprinkle the garlic powder evenly on top of the completed dish.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes (since the interior of the dish is already cooked, just bake until the breadcrumbs reach a golden brown color, and you are done!)
Let cool for a few minutes, and enjoy; we always do!