I’ve modified a recipe from my childhood, one that was a favorite of mine. Although I now make it any time of year I feel like it, it’s a dish that conjures up memories of Christmas morning and my mother.
This was one of those “magic” dishes that I remember my mother making. The other was on my birthday, when we’d have a full day down at the beach with firepit barbeque in the evening. The magic part was that she’d pull out cake and ice cream from the cooler—at the end of the day! Mom was awesome! Now that I think about it, my dad probably brought it down when he arrived after he finished work, but I’d love to still think that my mom had some sort of special trick that made it all work. (Dad, if you’re reading this, please don’t burst my balloon!)
So, back to this dish. Cue Christmas morning, after my older sisters had tortured me all the night before, making us all sleep in the same bed in case I saw Santa and ruined Christmas. They even made me crawl to the bathroom in case I accidentally looked downstairs and saw the Big Guy. I guess torturing little sisters was a fun pastime—I’ll never know! And ladies, you know you did this. Don’t deny it.
Finally, Christmas morning arrives and we run downstairs and tear into the gifts—the gifts under the family tree, mind you, as the tree in the front window was only for show, with fake, perfectly wrapped gifts underneath it. Ah, mom….the memories of your obsessive personality. And after the carnage had finished, breakfast would be ready like some sort of magic trick! Mom would have popped this in the oven as we came downstairs, knowing it would be ready after three girls had finished oohing and ahhing over Santa’s deliveries (and teasing her for leaving the price tags on—”Look, mom! Santa shops at K-Mart too!”), and we’d all sit down to a lovely, warming dish.
My dad sent out an email a few months ago, doing some research for an article he was writing, asking us daughters which of mom’s meals we loved, and which we hated. I was shocked to see this dish on the “hated” list, even my dad! Now, granted, this recipe is seriously jazzed up, but I remember loving every minute of this cheesey, gooey pile of yum as a kid. Although, I will say that the original recipe calls for “chipped beef”. Ew. I don’t really remember that part, just the mushrooms.
Because you can make this the day or evening before, it makes a perfect brunch dish—this way you’re not running around scrambling eggs at the last minute, sweating in the kitchen while your guests are drinking bloody Marys and mimosas. With this dish, YOU get to sip also. SCORE!
Vegetarian option: Replace chorizo with Soyrizo or a half-pound of mushrooms, sliced and sautéed with the other vegetables.
Vegan option: Wait for the next Virtual Vegan Potluck, please! It’s going to be my entry. There will need to be some experimentation…
Egg & Cheese Baked Fondue
12 slices white or challah bread
1 Lb cheddar and Emmental cheese, shredded
½ Lb chorizo, cooked until a little crispy (I always use Mulay’s)
2 cups milk or unsweetened soy milk
½ teas paprika
½ Cup minced pasilla chili
½ Cup minced onion
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Early in the day or day before serving:
Grease 9 x 13″ dish. Trim crust from bread and butter one side of bread. Arrange half of bread on one layer, cutting slices to fit as needed. Top with half cheese, all veggies and chorizo. Repeat layer with remaining bread and cheese. In a large measuring cup, blend together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper using a stick blender. Pour carefully over the ingredients in the baking dish. Cover and refrigerate.
About 1 hour and 15 minutes before serving:
Oven to 350°. Uncover and bake 50 – 60 minutes until knife comes out clean. 8 servings.
**If you’ve prepared the fondue that morning, bake only 30 – 40 minutes.