Whenever the weather starts to get colder, I always think about the holidays and all the delicious, seasonal foods that come with them. Each holiday is special, but for me, the winter holidays are the best. I love being surrounded by my family—especially when we all get to cook and eat together. I can immediately picture juicy ham, gooey cheese, and some type of delicious carb.
My family always celebrates the holidays with a big baked ham and (of course) there are always lots of leftovers. This got me thinking: What’s the best way to use up all that leftover ham? (Besides the typical ham and cheese sandwich.) A breakfast-y (or brunch-y!) ham casserole.
Most casseroles tend to be very cheese-heavy and sometimes a little too rich for my taste. Usually I can only have a couple of bites, so I wanted to make a casserole that I could eat in its entirety (or, you know, share with my family).
I like to use cubes of brioche in mine because it adds flavor and texture to the dish without being overwhelming. My go-to bread is St Pierre’s Sliced Brioche Loaf because it's incredibly soft, fluffy, and just-the-right amount buttery. However, casseroles are best made with day-old bread or stale bread, so I toast my St Pierre brioche cubes in the oven so that you can feel the texture of the bread throughout the casserole; toasting also ensures they soak up the egg-milk mixture nicely.
If you love ham, cheese, and bread—but you still want to get your vegetables in (this one’s got lots of broccoli)—this is a breakfast casserole you’re going to want to make throughout the holiday season and beyond.
Place the oven racks on the top 1/3 and 2/3 of the oven, and preheat to 300°F. Spread the brioche cubes amongst two sheet trays and toast for 10 minutes.
Once the bread is out, move the top oven rack to the middle and increase the oven temperature to 350°F.
In a large nonstick pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and thyme, and sauté until the edges turn brown, about 2 minutes. Mix in the ham and sauté for another 2 minutes. Then add the broccoli and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Set this mixture aside and let cool for about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and spices. Set aside 1/2 cup of Gouda and 1/2 cup of Gruyère to top the casserole before baking. Once the egg-milk mixture is combined, add the tomato, parsley, cheeses, sautéed vegetables, and toasted brioche cubes into the large bowl. Lightly toss everything together.
Spray non-stick oil on the casserole dish and pour the mixture into your greased casserole dish. Top the casserole with the reserved cheese and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.