A fabulous brunch or dinner dish, this Croque Monsieur casserole features peameal bacon (or back bacon/Canadian bacon), together with cranberry sauce, and Gruyere cheese, made into sandwiches and baked topped with an easy, homemade Mornay sauce.

Croque Monsieur casserole in baking dish with cranberry sauce on the side

If you’re looking for a special brunch recipe or maybe a festive dinner, this Croque Monsieur casserole fits the bill perfectly!

My twist on the typical Croque Monsieur is to use peameal bacon (or back bacon/Canadian bacon), together with some cranberry sauce and Gruyere cheese. A homemade mornay sauce is poured all over the top and baked until bubbly and golden.

Ingredients and substitutions

Peameal Bacon (or Back Bacon / Canadian Bacon) – peameal bacon may be only a Canadian thing, but peameal bacon is unsmoked back bacon made from trimmed lean boneless pork loin rolled in cornmeal. Back bacon is just fine to use here and probably more widely available across Canada.

I believe Americans call it Canadian bacon, which I’ve always found strange, since Canadians if you asked a Canadian what Canadian bacon was, they would have no idea :)

All that said, you can always use classic ham here, as well.

Gruyere Cheese – I love the nutty flavour of Gruyere, but you could use Emmental or Swiss instead. If you’re feeling indulgent, you could use Brie slices, as well.

Cranberry Sauce – use canned, whole-berry cranberry sauce or make your own from fresh or frozen cranberries.

Dijon Mustard – I do recommend Dijon mustard, but regular yellow mustard will work here as well.

Bread – any bread will work here. I’ve used some of my easy homemade Italian Bread.

Step-by-step photos

For the Mornay Sauce (can be made ahead):

For the casserole (sandwiches can be assembled ahead, but top with sauce just before baking):

  1. Add the peameal bacon (or back bacon/Canadian bacon) to a frying pan.
  2. Fry the bacon until cooked through, then set aside briefly.
  3. Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet. Toast bread slices under the oven broiler until lightly toasted.
  4. Spread Dijon mustard on half of the toasted bread slices.
  5. Place bacon, cranberry sauce and shredded cheese on toasted bread slices.
  6. Place the remaining toasted bread slices on top of the filled slices to make sandwiches and place the sandwiches into a baking dish.
  7. Pour the Mornay sauce over and around the sandwiches.
  8. Top with more shredded cheese and bake until bubbly and browned about 15-20 minutes.
  9. Enjoy freshly baked with additional cranberry sauce on the side.

Recipe tips!

  • If you are feeding more people, you can increase the number of sandwiches from 8 to about 10 or 11 and you will still have enough Mornay sauce.
  • Serve additional cranberry sauce on the side, as it balances the richness of the sauce and cheese nicely.
  • Enjoy as part of a brunch, with fruit or salad or as a dinner with a side salad.
Croque Monsieur casserole in baking dish with cranberry sauce on the side

Making ahead, storing and freezing

This casserole is best enjoyed freshly baked. That said, you can make the two parts ahead, refrigerate them separately and assemble them to bake later. Simply assemble the sandwiches and place them in a casserole dish. Tightly cover and refrigerate. Make the mornay sauce and refrigerate. When ready to bake, pour the Mornay sauce over the casserole and bake. Oven time might be a bit longer if everything is cold from the refrigerator.

Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. You can reheat the leftovers in the microwave (covered) or covered with foil in a 350F oven until warmed through.

You can freeze leftovers as well, for up to 3 months.

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Croque Monsieur casserole in baking dish with cranberry sauce on the side

Get the Recipe: Croque Monsieur Casserole

A fabulous brunch or dinner dish, this Croque Monsieur casserole features peameal bacon (or back bacon/Canadian bacon), together with cranberry sauce, Gruyere cheese, made into sandwiches and baked topped with an easy, homemade Mornay sauce.
5 stars from 1 rating
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

For the casserole:

  • 16 slices Italian or French bread
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 8 slices peameal bacon,, or back bacon or Canadian bacon
  • 1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere, Emmental or Swiss cheese, shredded, plus more for topping

For the Mornay sauce:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk, 2 or 3% b.f. recommended
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, 35% b.f.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Gruyere, Emmental or Swiss Cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

For topping before baking:

  • 1/2 cup Gruyere, Emmental or Swiss cheese, shredded

For garnish:

  • Fresh thyme leaves

Instructions
 

For the Mornay Sauce:

  • In a medium saucepan on the stove-top, add the butter and melt over medium heat. When melted, add the flour and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil still over medium heat, stirring regularly. When boiling, reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring regularly, until thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the shredded Gruyere and nutmeg, stirring until the cheese is melted. **Can be made ahead. Transfer to a bowl. Once cooled to warm, lay a sheet of plastic wrap over-top, laying it right onto the sauce to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate up to 2 days. When ready to use, remove from the refrigerate and whisk. If it is super thick, whisk in a bit of milk to loosen it.

For the casserole:

  • Add the bacon to a frying pan and cook the bacon until completely cooked and lightly golden. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  • Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet. Place under the oven broiler and lightly toast, then flip the bread and lightly toast the other side. It doesn't take long, so watch closely to avoid over-toasting. Allow to cool to just warm.
  • Spread a layer of Dijon mustard on 1/2 of the toasted bread slices. Top with 1 piece of bacon (you can cut the bacon in half if it is too large and over-lap the two halves on the one slice of bread). Top the bacon with a generous tablespoon dollop of cranberry sauce and spread it out a bit. Sprinkle with a bit of shredded Gruyere. Place the remaining slices of bread on top of each of the topped slices to make 8 sandwiches.
  • Place the sandwiches into a baking dish (about 8×11" works well), with the sandwiches standing up, then adjust slightly to tip the sandwiches back a bit to overlap. **The "sandwiches" can be made ahead. Cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 8 hours. When ready to bake, remove from the refrigerator, top with Mornay sauce and bake.
  • Preheat oven to 350F. (regular setting/not fan-assisted)
  • Using a ladle, spoon the Mornay sauce over the casserole, both over-top and around the edges and in between the sandwiches. (If Mornay sauce is thick from refrigerating, just use a spoon to spread it around). Scatter some shredded Gruyere cheese on top.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes (a bit longer if made ahead and cold), or until the sauce is bubbly. To brown up, you can switch the oven to broil for about 2 minutes at the end of cooking.
  • Remove from oven. Garnish with thyme leave, if using. Serve warm with additional cranberry sauce alongside.

Notes

If you need to feed a few more, you can increase the “sandwiches” to 10 or 11 without needing to make more Mornay sauce. You may need a slightly larger baking dish. 
Enjoy warm or at room temperature, with cranberry sauce on the side. Nice with a salad or roasted vegetables.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator tightly wrapped for up to 3 days. You can also freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. Re-warm in the microwave or a 350F oven, covered with foil, until warmed.
Be sure to read the notes above this Recipe Card, where you’ll find more tips for making this recipe, along with step-by-step photos that you might find helpful. 
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Brunch, Main Course
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 483kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 30g, Saturated Fat: 17g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Sodium: 742mg, Potassium: 309mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 21g, Vitamin A: 543IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 327mg, Iron: 1mg
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