Breakfast Casserole with
Sausage, Apples & Caramelized Onions

Serving a holiday brunch? Planning a special breakfast for Christmas morning? Consider adding the recipe for this unusual sausage, apple and onion (oh! the onions! all dark and slightly sweet) dish to the menu, either as a side dish or the main course. Make it ahead of time, then pop it in the oven for serving hot or slightly warm. Your family or guests will say, "What smells so good?" This one's a keeper!

Breakfast Casserole with Sausage, Apples & Caramelized Onions

My family shrinks geography by shifting time.

When my sister’s boys were young, many years we celebrated our family Christmas a day or two before or a day or two after December 25. “What day is Christmas?” we’d decide, thereby setting the night before as ‘Christmas Eve’ when Santa would visit, planning our ‘Christmas Day’ dinner with all its trimmings.

One year we shifted New Year’s Eve’s stroke of midnight too, setting the clocks ahead by two hours. We started the festivities early, too early as it turned out. When the party began to lag well before our ‘midnight’, we moved the clocks ahead another hour. This meant pouring champagne and serenading the neighbors with Auld Lang Syne at nine o’clock, not midnight. The kids were so proud of themselves for staying awake until ‘midnight’. The grown-ups were grinning too, knowing we’d all get full nights’ of sleep.

Our time-shifting skills were tested over Thanksgiving when my dad drove to St. Louis from Minnesota, my sister and her family from Texas. We cooked a traditional Thanksgiving turkey on Thursday, shopped for stocking stuffers on Black Friday and then, on Friday evening, celebrated Christmas ‘morning’ with carols in the background, spiked coffee in our mugs and breakfast for supper.

For our ‘breakfast’ that night, I whipped up this easy Breakfast Casserole, put an overnight coffeecake (recipe coming soon) into the oven and chopped a little fruit salad.

Even with food, what matters is the season, the sentiment, the celebration – not the dates.

ALANNA's TIPS Avoid sweet onions and red onions, which are so watery they cook down to nearly nothing. (Yes, I learned this the hard way.) I've had the best luck with brown-skinned Spanish onions. A cast-iron skillet does the best job of creating the 'tasty bits' called fond that collect in the bottom of a pan when cooking the sausage.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.

BREAKFAST CASSEROLE with
SAUSAGE, APPLES & CARAMELIZED ONIONS

Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Time to table: 90 minutes
Serves 8 as side dish, 4 as main dish, easily halved or doubled
  • 12 ounces pork sausage, mild or hot, your choice
  • 2 medium apples, peeled or not, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 large onions (avoid sweet onions, see TIPS), trimmed, peeled, halved, ‘thirded’ and then halved again (aim for big pieces)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F.

SAUSAGE In a large, heavy skillet, cook the pork sausage on medium to medium high until done, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a spatula while cooking. Set aside.

APPLES In the same skillet, add the apples and stir to coat with any fat left in the skillet (see TIPS). Let cook until just soft, stirring occasionally. Stir into the sausage.

ONIONS Add the water to the hot skillet (it will sizzle) and scrape the bottom to ‘deglaze’ the pan, collecting up the bits on the bottom. Add the onions and stir to wet, breaking apart the onion layers. Sprinkle with sugar, salt and pepper, stir to wet again. Let cook, stirring often, until the onions turn all dark and caramel-y.

COMBINE In a one-quart casserole dish or oven-safe pie pan, layer the ingredients, half the sausage-apple mixture, half the onions, then the remaining sausage-apple mixture and the remaining onions. If making ahead of time, stop here, cover and refrigerate.

BAKE Bake for 30 to 45 minutes (it will take longer if made ahead and stone-cold) until hot clear through. Serve immediately.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Side Dish/Main Dish Serving: 188/376 Calories; 10/21g Tot Fat; 4/8g Sat Fat; 30/61mg Cholesterol; 272/544mg Sodium; 15/30g Carb; 2/3g Fiber; 12/24g Sugar; 7/14g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points 4/8.5 and PointsPlus 5/10.
Adapted from a recipe from our dear cousin LeAnne, a cook extraordinaire. Thanks, Cuz!

Do you have a favorite recipe for Christmas morning that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook! Do you have a favorite recipe for Christmas morning that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

What's On Your Menu for Christmas Morning?

Do you keep it simple? go all out? GO out? Let me know in the comments!


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Oh, Alanna, this sounds fabulous!

Do you bake uncovered? Or start covered, then uncover?
 
ToyLady ~ :-) I've left it uncovered both times, worked great. I hope you love it!
 
Any preference on apply type for this recipe?
 
Janine ~ Good question! I'd err toward a baking apple, a Macintosh say, that will soften slightly, rather than a firm eating apple like a Granny Smith. But honestly, once the apples combine with that bit of sausage and get mixed in with the caramelized onions, I think you won't be noticing any special kind of apple!
 
This looks delicious. I just made a Thomas Keller-esq quiche with eggs from my backyard chickens. The crust was a little difficult before it got into the oven... but all turned out well.
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna