Between working with and now living in the US as a Brit and having an American husband whom I met while in the UK, I have over the years come across many things that get lost in translation within the English language between the two countries. Slightly unhelpfully for me these days, within food-related things, there seems to be a lot (hence me having a language and measurements page and often using more than one name for things). Sometimes, though, things just don’t quite translate and a breakfast casserole is one of them.
While pretty common in the US, a breakfast casserole is a dish that most people in the UK would wonder what you were talking about. The definition of casserole in general is quite different. In the US, a casserole seems to be pretty much anything you’d cook in a casserole dish. Meanwhile in the UK, the name is reserved for particular dishes, usually of the slow-cooked meat and vegetables main course variety. You can see why adding ‘breakfast’ at the beginning would not quite make sense.
What is a breakfast casserole?
To help out my fellow Brits, think of a breakfast casserole as either a tortilla/fritatta with a bit more in it than usual. Or else anything you might consider breakfast food put in a dish with eggs and probably cheese and baked. Does that feel about right to those who know better? However you define it, they can be pretty tasty and this Southwest-style breakfast casserole is definitely up there. With a little bit of heat from chorizo and chilis, and plenty of tasty vegetables, it’s a delicious mix that will make breakfast or brunch feel a whole lot better.
How it’s made
Many breakfast casseroles are made the night before, refrigerated then baked in the morning. This one only takes about as long as the oven takes to heat to put together so you can do it in the morning. Not that it wouldn’t work the night before, you certainly could, but there’s no real need. There’s only a little bit of actual ‘work’ before it goes in the oven. First brown the chorizo and soften the onion, then it’s simply a case of putting everything in a dish, pouring over the egg and milk mixture and putting it in the oven. You can serve it on it’s own, but it’s also nice with a bit of avocado and sour cream on the side, to up the Southwest feel. (True, you could as easily call it Mexican-style, but a little bit of alliteration somehow sounds better.)
This Southwest-style breakfast casserole has lots of great flavors and textures without much effort. It’s also great for when you’re serving breakfast or brunch to a group. In fact, while the recipe is for 3-4, if you double it it’s even easier as you can use a whole can of beans, corn and a whole onion etc so no measuring. While it’s filling, it doesn’t feel heavy thanks to the corn and tomato. All in all it feels a pretty balanced and delicious meal. Colorful, tasty and easy to make – this breakfast casserole is definitely one to add to your list.
Southwest-style breakfast casserole
- approx 8oz/225g fresh chorizo about 2 sausages
- 1/2 medium onion diced
- 1/2 cup/85g corn tin or frozen, defrosted
- 1/2 cup/85g cooked black beans
- approx 1/2 a 4oz can of chopped green chili peppers mild or hot, as you prefer
- 1 large tomato
- 1/2 cup grated cheese cheddar or similar
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup/120ml milk
Preheat the oven to 375F/200C.
If using sausages, remove the meat from the casings and cook in a pan, breaking up the meat as you cook it. After a couple minutes add the onion ad cook, stirring now and then, until chorizo is cooked and onion has softened. Transfer to an oven dish.
While the chorizo and onions are cooking, measure out everything else and roughly dice the tomato.
Spread the beans, corn and peppers over the chorizo and onion mixture then scatter over the tomatoes and top with the cheese.
Gently whisk together the eggs and milk and pour over everything else. Top with a few grindings of pepper then bake for around 35-40 minutes until cooked through and gently browned on top.
Serve as it is or with some sour cream and avocado.