We may not all have the same go-tos, but Chef Justin Chapple has created a dish that we’re convinced will please almost every palate: the croque madame hot dish, a casserole with all the trappings of the quintessential French ham and cheese sandwich. Chapple shares his inspiration in Just Cook It!: 145 Built-to-Be-Easy Recipes That Are Totally Delicious:
Croque monsieur is a classic French sandwich filled with ham and bathed in a warm, cheesy béchamel sauce. Add a fried egg and you’ve got croque madame. I’ve made this sandwich endlessly, but never for a group because you can only prepare them one at a time. Then I created this casserole—aka “hot dish,” the Midwestern term—of white toast layered with béchamel, ham, and shredded Gruyère and topped with a few runny eggs.
Bring on the casseroles!
Instead of grilling sandwich after sandwich, the croque madame hot dish serves six hungry eaters after just 30 minutes in the oven.
Another reason this dish is perfect for crowds? You can make parts of it ahead. Mix up the creamy béchamel a day in advance, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Just make sure to reheat it before assembling the casserole.
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 10 slices white country bread, halved
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 pinch Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, more to taste
- 1/2 pound hinly sliced ham, such as Virginia or Black Forest, coarsely chopped
- 8 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (2 cups)
- 6 large eggs
What's your favorite comfort food? Share all your dishes in the comments below!