Breakfast Casserole with Leeks and Asparagus

Pro tip: raw bacon is much easier to slice if it is frozen. So keep your bacon chilled until you are ready to cut it, or put it in the freezer for several minutes before slicing.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 3 slices thick-sliced bacon (about 3 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound of asparagus, trimmed of woody ends, cut into 1/2-inch diagonal pieces
  • 6 slices of bread, cut into 1 1/2 inch wide square pieces, including crusts
  • 2 leeks, cleaned, cut in half lengthwise, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, white and light green parts only, about 2 cups total
  • 2 Tbsp butter, divided 1 Tbsp and 1 Tbsp
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried herbes de provence (can sub dried tarragon or thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Method

1 Place bacon in a medium skillet on medium heat. Gently cook, turning occasionally, until the bacon pieces are lightly browned and much of the bacon fat has been rendered, about 10-12 minutes. Remove cooked bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the rendered bacon fat in the pan.

breakfast-casserole-leeks-asparagus-method-600-1

2 While the bacon is cooking, cut up the bread. If the bread is a little stale, great. If it is fresh, then spread it out on a baking sheet and heat it in a 200°F oven for about 10-15 minutes to help it dry out a bit. This will help the keep the bread from disintegrating when mixed with the eggs later.

3 Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the cut asparagus and blanch for 1 minute. Remove the asparagus from the pot to a bowl of ice water. Let cool in the ice water and then drain.

breakfast-casserole-leeks-asparagus-method-600-2

4 Once the bacon is done and removed from the pan add a tablespoon of butter to the pan with the remaining bacon fat. Add the leeks and gently cook on medium to medium low heat for 10-12 minutes until the leeks are softened, but not browned. Do not let brown.

breakfast-casserole-leeks-asparagus-method-600-3 breakfast-casserole-leeks-asparagus-method-600-4

5 In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, crumbled feta cheese, herbes de provence, salt, and pepper.

breakfast-casserole-leeks-asparagus-method-600-5

6 Place the bread pieces into the egg milk mixture and press down so that the bread becomes completely saturated with the mixture. Add the asparagus and leeks and gently mix to combine, taking care to not break up the bread.

breakfast-casserole-leeks-asparagus-method-600-6 breakfast-casserole-leeks-asparagus-method-600-7

7 Preheat oven to 350°F. With the remaining tablespoon of butter, butter the insides of a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle the bacon over the bottom of the dish. Gently pour the filling mixture into the casserole. Top with Parmesan cheese. Push the grated Parmesan down a bit into to the top of the casserole so that it gets moistened. (At this point you can make the night before, refrigerate and bake the next morning.)

breakfast-casserole-leeks-asparagus-method-600-8 breakfast-casserole-leeks-asparagus-method-600-9

8 Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the custard is cooked through. If the top is getting too brown before the custard is done, you can tent it with foil. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before cutting to serve.

Click on the comments you'd like to print with your recipe. Grayed out comments will not print.

Comments

  • Mo

    I am thinking of making this for a work breakfast but I would like to skip the bacon and substitute gruyere for the feta. Do you think this would work?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Mo, I think both would work great! I love gruyere with everything and it has more than enough flavor to offset the loss of the bacon.

      • Mo

        Thanks for you thoughts. I will give it a try!

  • Stephanie

    I made this for breakfast this morning to give us a break from our eggs and bacon routine. It was really delish. I am bagging up the leftovers to eat for breakfast this week. I subbed mushrooms for the asparagus since the asparagus didn’t look very good when I was shopping. I was a little worried about the moisture from the mushrooms, but it was no problem at all. Can’t go wrong with leek and bacon flavor combo!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Stephanie, good to know the recipe still works as written with mushrooms!

  • Torri

    I just made this with recipe with ramps in place of the leeks and fresh tarragon from the garden. Yum! Thanks for the inspiration, Elise. Long time fan over here!

  • Gwyn

    Elise this was delicious!! I made this for relatives visiting from out of town for brunch. I served it with fresh fruit and seasoned potatoes. I got “outstanding” comments. I made it the night before and cooked it for 50 minutes and it was perfect! I did add additional bacon but I’m not sure it needed it. This one will go into our absolute favorites book. Thank you so much for a wonderful recipe!

    • Gwyn

      I also wanted to comment that my father-in-law and my daughter are not crazy about asparagus. They don’t really care for it and they both said it was delicious and ate every bite!

  • Jane

    Is the bread absolutely necessary? I would like to make this without the bread.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jane, if you make it without the bread, then it’s a baked frittata/quiche and not a breakfast casserole. It can be done! You’ll just have to experiment on the cooking time.

  • Gwyn

    Elise, If I make this the night before, would that adjust the cooking time after being in the refrigerator all night?

    • Elise Bauer

      Maybe by 5 to 10 minutes. The cooking time is flexible as it is, given how variable people’s ovens can be and different sizes of casserole dishes. Just make sure to take it out when it has just set, or you’ll end up overcooking the eggs and the result will be dry.

  • Justine

    Would a baguette work for the bread? If so, what should the total amount of bread come to (# cups?) Thanks!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Justine, a baguette would work fine. I would estimate about 6 cups of cubed bread.

  • Carol

    Note that there is no mention of adding the bacon as the recipe proceeds – not that we can’t figure out that detail all by ourselves. Sounds yummy!

  • Joan in VA

    I have a problem with Feta Cheese. Is there a substitute? Otherwise, it sounds fantastic!

  • Judy h.

    My boyfriend is not a fan of feta- any suggestions for another cheese I could substitute?

  • Nancy

    Should that be “1/2 CUP” of crumbled feta cheese?

  • Mary Frances

    Yummy! What a delicious brunch treat. I also love using Herbes de Provence with eggs!

  • Josie Graham

    This sounds great. I would like to try this recipe minus the bread.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jossie, that would be something like a crustless quiche. If you try it without the bread, please let us know how it turns out for you.

  • Marcio T

    Elise,
    Just one question: are the “prep time=15min” and “cook time=1h30min” correct? It seems to me that this would take more than 15min to prep, and the bake time is only half the “cook time”.
    Anyway, this looks great and I will try tomorrow.

    • Marcio T

      Elise,
      The recipe was a great success and the dish was delicious.
      Howeer, I think the correct oven times would be:
      “Bake covered for 45 minutes, and then uncovered for 45 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the custard is cooked through.”

      • Elise Bauer

        Hi Marcio, you want to cook it until it is just barely set. The casserole will continue to cook for several minutes once you take it out of the oven. If you cook it too long the eggs will get overdone and the casserole will be dry.

      • Brian

        Cooking time may also include the rendering the bacon, drying the bread and sauteing the leeks. Those 3 tasks add nearly 45 minutes of cook time. I wouldn’t risk baking this dish for 90 minutes – might end up with a brick.

        We do a different strada for Christmas mornings, but this looks perfect for a spring weekend. Asparagus might actually be in season here in the tundra soon – actually hit 70 the other day!

  • Millie | Add A Little

    This looks like a wonderful easy brunch idea – I love adding zucchnini to mine but this sounds like a great spring flavour!