You’re cruising the city on a sunny Sunday morning, making your way from midtown, heading towards downtown, zipping through Germantown, and landing over on the east side, but meanwhile, all along the way you notice something: endless lines of people. It’s not something you’d have witnessed just four years ago—except maybe at the Pancake Pantry, of course—this devotion to brunch.
Initially designed as an alternative to the traditionally heavy after-church Sunday supper, the marriage of breakfast and lunch, dubbed “brunch,” was intended to be a meal made of lighter fare that would help churchgoers bridge the gap between fasting before worship, and feasting later that evening. Today however, brunch has become such a religious weekly event for some, it has replaced worship altogether.
Going out for brunch is the food-trend that’s become the latest and greatest foodie fad. But it begs the question, why?
Regardless of our level of kitchen prowess, from Nashville to New York, Los Angeles to Austin, everyone has latched on to the meal that’s trending. While roasting in the blazing sun, being pummeled by freezing rain, or blown around by whipping winds, people both young and old will wait hours just to get their hands on a $14 Benedict made with 10¢ eggs or a side of limp, skinny, hormone-infused bacon with a $5 price tag.
Sometimes going out for brunch can be fun (since the two-hour wait is often made palatable with a two-for-one Bloody Mary or an endless carafe of mimosas) but it also inevitably includes anxiously standing around in a crowd of people, being in the way of all of the pissed off servers, hovering over people who are already so smugly eating, and of course, paying an arm and a leg for something you could have made yourself in half the time that it took to “experience” brunch.
Why do we put ourselves through this mid-morning madness? Wouldn’t it be easier, and more relaxing, and more enjoyable, and definitely more economical to have brunch at home?
Even if poaching an egg isn’t your strong suit and making your own hollandaise sauce seems as farfetched as winning an Olympic gold medal in curling, any old soul can still whip up something delicious and impressive. Hell, people fork over $14 for an egg scramble made with sprinkle of cheese, a few strips of deli turkey, and half an avocado. Any Joe Shmoe can do that.
Brunch should be neither difficult, nor pricey; overall it’s supposed to be fun. As British author Guy Beringer stated back in the late 1800’s, “It’s talk-compelling. It puts you in good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and the cobwebs of the week.” No jam-packed restaurant booming with loud music, overflowing with troves of college students, and topped off with a two-and-a-half hour wait could possibly cultivate such sentiments.
Brunch at home, on the other hand? That is where it’s at. A simple breakfast casserole is easy to throw together the night before you’re planning to entertain, perfect when serving a larger crowd, and if it’s made with PRB meat and pantry items from our market it will be hella delicious. Bonus: shopping is a snap.
As far as accompaniments go, simply cut up some fruit for something sweet, satisfy your sweet tooth with a few of Nora’s famous whole-wheat cinnamon rolls, and crisp up a quarter pound of bacon to use as a garnish for Bloody Mary’s—you’ll automatically have the baddest and raddest Bloody Mary Bar of all time.
Your friends will be thrilled to leave the crowded bar behind, your grandmother will be delighted to actually hear conversations clearly, and every last person will be happily heading back to the buffet for seconds on this scrumptious and impressive brunch-time delight. Any cobwebs that lingered from the week will be blown away like a passing cloud.
Come to think of it, this casserole is so easy and incredibly delish, you may as well just go ahead and make two… After all, Sunday comes back around ever week.
PRB Brunch Casserole
Active Time: 30
Total Time: 60-75 minutes
1 dozen Willow Farms eggs
¾ lb. PRB breakfast sausage
1/3 lb. PRB bacon
2 ½ cup Hatcher’s Dairy whole milk
1 ½ stale demi-baguettes from Bella Nashville; cut into 1” cubes
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded Kenny’s Farmhouse cheddar cheese
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced; for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line two large cookie sheets with aluminum foil and lay the bacon in a single layer so the slices are almost touching. Note: if you have them, lay bacon on wire roasting racks (sometimes called drying racks in baking) on top of the aluminum foil. Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness, until crispy. Remove from oven and cool on a paper towel. Once completely cool, crumble or cut into 1/2” pieces.
- In a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, break up the sausage and brown it until there’s no more pink and sausage is crumbly. Remove from heat and drain; then cool on a paper towel to soak up excess grease.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add milk, mustard and salt, and whisk together. Finally, add cheese, cubed bread, crumbled sausage and bacon. Using a large spoon, combine.
- Pour into an ungreased 10×15” baking dish and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning when you’re hungry and are about to dive into your first Bloody Mary, preheat oven to 350° F. Bake casserole, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes until casserole is set and the top is golden brown.