Holiday dining at home: Chef Joe Decker’s ‘Char’s Breakfast Casserole’

“Every Christmas morning, we would make a delicious breakfast casserole — my mother-in-law’s recipe.”

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Chef Executive Chef Joe Decker carves out a piece of Char’s Breakfast Casserole at the Wildfire restaurant in Glenview.

Chef Executive Chef Joe Decker carves out a piece of Char’s Breakfast Casserole at the Wildfire restaurant in Glenview.

Anthony Jackson/ For the Sun-Times

Executive Chef Joe Decker

Wildfire, 1300 Patriot Blvd., Glenview; wildfirerestaurant.com

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“Every Christmas morning, we would make a delicious breakfast casserole that was my mother-in-law’s recipe. It is quite delicious and satisfying. It is not really tied to my heritage, but my kids will always remember that dish and will make it for their future families. It is called Char’s Breakfast Casserole because it is named after my late mother-in-law, Charlene. It has chicken sausage, wheat bread, onions, eggs, half ’n’ half, dry mustard, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cheddar cheese.” — Chef Joe Decker

Char’s Breakfast Casserole

Char’s Breakfast Casserole at the Wildfire restaurant in Glenview. The casserole is made with chicken sausage, wheat bread, onions and eggs.

Char’s Breakfast Casserole is made with chicken sausage, wheat bread, onions and eggs.

Anthony Jackson/ For the Sun-Times

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 slices multigrain bread
  • 2-3 Tbsp butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cup onion, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 lbs Italian chicken sausage
  • 3/4 lb cheddar cheese, grated
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Butter bread slices and cut into cubes.

3. Brown mushrooms and onions in ½ cup butter for about 12 minutes. Set aside and cool to room temperature.

4. Flatten bulk Italian chicken sausage on a parchment lined sheet pan

5. Cook at 350F degrees in the oven for approximately 15 -20 minutes.

6. Let cool to room temperature. Then cut into bite sized pieces.

6. Layer in a 9x13 casserole dish, bread, mushroom and onion mix, sausage, cheese, repeating and ending with a layer of cheese.

8. Mix eggs, seasonings and milk. Pour over layers.

9. Refrigerate overnight.

10. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Let rest for 15 minutes, then cut into squares.

Chef’s note: Can sub vegetables for sausage — spinach mix, red pepper, etc. if vegetarian is desired.

Wildfire restaurant in Glenview.

Wildfire restaurant in Glenview.

Anthony Jackson/ For the Sun-Times

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