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~ My Big Baked Denver Omelette Brunch Casserole~

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d1879fba970cYes Virginia, there is more than one way to make an omelette, especially if you are cooking breakfast or brunch for a crowd.  The Denver omelette in particular, which is a festive-looking Southwestern omelette that is loaded with lots of smoky diced ham, bell peppers, onions and grated cheddar cheese, once the ingredients are diced, which takes about 10 minutes, transitions from making omelettes one-at-a-time to one crowd-pleasing casserole so easily, if you're like me, it's going to end up at or near the top of your go-to AM casserole recipes list.

IMG_9348Here's my photo of ~ My Kinda Cowboy Breakfast:  A Denver Omelette ~.  Denver and the early American Southwest share a fascinating history.  You can learn all about it, and, get my recipe by clicking into Categories 9, 11,  or 13.  I posted it a few days ago, and, since lots of home cooks are always looking for a GREAT time-saving breakfast casserole, especially around the tailgating and holiday seasons of the Fall and Winter, I decided to write this follow-up post. I would feel guilty if I didn't.

IMG_92501  1-pound, center-cut, 1/2" thick, bone-in, fully-cooked ham steak, cooked and diced (3 cups diced)

3  tablespoons salted butter, for cooking the ham

IMG_92711 1/2  cups each:  small diced green and red bell peppers

1 1/2  cups small diced scallions or sweet onion

IMG_9385all pan drippings from cooking ham, for sauteing the vegetables

1  dozen extra-large eggs

1  cup cream

freshly-ground sea salt

freshly-ground peppercorn blend

2  cups grated white or yellow cheddar cheese, or, a white and yellow cheddar blend (8 ounces)

no-stick cooking spray, for preparing casserole dish

IMG_9261 IMG_9263Step 1.  In a 12" nonstick skillet, melt the butter over low heat.  

Place the ham in the pan, increase the heat to medium-high and saute until ham is beginning to brown around the edges and on the bottom, about 3 minutes per side, turning only once.  Turn heat off.

IMG_9265 IMG_9269Step 2. Remove ham slice from skillet and place on a cutting board to cool about 10 minutes.  Section the ham into 5-6 pieces. The ham steak will show you where to make the cuts between the lines of fat.  Next, trim each section of all visible fat and dice into small 1/4" pieces.

IMG_9386 IMG_9390 IMG_9395 IMG_9396 IMG_9400                          ~Step 3.  Add the bell peppers and onions to the drippings remaining in skillet.  Season with salt and pepper.  I use 10 coarse grinds of salt and 20 coarse grinds of peppercorn blend.  Over medium-high heat, saute until veggies are crunch tender, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the ham and cook until ham is   IMG_9408heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to the bottom of a 13" x 9" x 2"/3-quart casserole.  Set aside.

IMG_9404~ Step 4. Break the eggs into a 1-quart measuring container and add the cream. Using a hand-held hand-crank egg beater, vigorously whisk the eggs and the cream together.

IMG_9416 IMG_9411~ Step 5. Sprinkle the cheese over the veggie layer. Drizzle the egg mixture over all.

IMG_9422~ Step 6. Season the top with 20 coarse grinds of sea salt and 40 coarse grinds of peppercorn blend.

Bake on center rack of 350 degree oven...

IMG_9429... until puffy, golden & set -- about 25 minutes.

IMG_9448Cool 15 minutes prior to slicing...

IMG_9470... & serving with your favorite hot sauce!

IMG_9484My Big Baked Denver Omelette Brunch Casserole:  Recipe yields 12-16 servings.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; 12" nonstick skillet; large spoon; 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish/3-quart casserole; 1-quart measuring container; hand-held hand-crank egg beater

IMG_9458Cook's Note:  This casserole can be put together in advance and refrigerated, just short of adding the egg and cream mixture.  Remove it from the refrigerator about an hour prior to baking and add the liquid just before putting it in the oven. That said, because the entire thing, or individual squares reheat beautifully in the microwave, feel free to bake it a day or three in advance of reheating it.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)


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