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Monday, January 21, 2013

In the "Strata"sphere

When I did my Christmas wrap-up post HERE, some of you commented on the strata I made for breakfast and I even had a couple of emails about sharing the recipe!
The one I make is the combination of a printed recipe from "Inn Time for Breakfast Again," a cookbook from Michigan's bed and breakfast inns and one similar that my mom made (c. 1960s).
It is also a "flexible" recipe -- as long as you get the egg custard and bread components in the ballpark, you can have some fun changing around the meat to make it vegetarian. 

Christmas Strata

Brown 2 pounds bulk sausage (I've done this with as little as one and it's fine, but if you are a sausage fan, two is better. I suspect you could substitute turkey sausage)

If there is room in your pan add 8 oz. of sliced fresh mushrooms. (I've done this without cooking them first, and that's fine, too.)

If you are game for onion, add that here, too -- one small should do it, and you may want to leave it out if you are making it for breakfast.

Drain this and set aside.

Cut the crusts from 8 slices of bread (I usually leave them on) or the equivalent of your favorite semi-stale better bread. (Once it's all mixed up, I can't tell the difference between Sara Lee and high-class bread, so that's your call.)

Make the custard by whisking together:
8 eggs
2 - 2 1/2 c. milk
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 pound Cheddar cheese. (the other half goes on top)

A note on cheese -- if you are feeding Martha, go for the good stuff. If you are feeding Kevin, Greg and Rick, the sharpest shredded cheese you can get pre-shredded seems to work just fine. It comes to about 1 bag or 2 cups, divided)

Put the bread on the bottom of a pan -- 13x9 is great (spray it first) but we often use a smaller casserole dish and just put a baking pan under it or you will find that it overflows, which disrupts the holiday merriment).

Add the meat/mushroom mixture.

Cover with the custard and put the remaining cheese on top. (I'm not sure why you just don't mix it all in, because the cheese in the custard always lands on the top of the bread anyway.)

Refrigerate overnight (cover with plastic or foil)

Bake at 350 (uncovered) for about 45-50 minutes or till the middle of the strata is set. Then let it stand a few minutes before slicing.

If you're not a meat fan, you could probably easily do this with veggies -- mushrooms, broccoli, etc. 
This is excellent with coffee cake and fruit salad (mimosa on the side, please!)
Cheers!

(Check out Chopsticks and String for a look at two new books by an emerging writer.)

13 comments:

Joanne Huffman said...

I always like it when people post recipes of things that look tasty. Thanks.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Both the regular strata and the vegetarian sound delicious! Pass the mimosas, s'il te plaƮt.

Bises,
Genie

Mae Travels said...

I used to make one like it a long time ago -- I think the recipe came from Sunset magazine. Back then I often invited people for Sunday brunch. I can't imagine doing that now!

shoreacres said...

This is it! The same one I have in my files! Mine is a little different, I think, but the procedure's the same. I'll compare and see what the differences are. I've done it with turkey sausage, but I've never found one that has the same taste as a good sage pan sausage. If I'm going to go all out with the egg and cheese, I've always figured the real sausage might as well be the choice!

Leann said...

Mmm.. I'll be over this weekend for a round two. This is my kind a breakfast/brunch to serve - especially the Mimosa!

Cheers!
Leann

donna said...

Fun post. It's almost exactly like the breakfast casserole we enjoy every single Christmas morning. Adding the mimosa is a nice touch. Will try to remember that for next year. We also always have a fresh baked rhubarb pie on Christmas day.

culdesacchronicles said...

Oh, my goodness, this sounds delicious, and it would feed a group. I must try this when the kids come. Thanks.

rippleeffects said...

This looks so good. Are you going to make it often? I mean, it's not just for Christmas is it? I'm afraid I totally lack dexterity in the kitchen, so am not too much of a cook or baker. But, I love eating, and I can do that quite well. I know it's delicious just by looking at photos of your Strata!

Marilyn said...

Now that sounds yummy!

Friko said...

A recipe I’d love to follow. Sadly, I wouldn’t be able to eat it myself: I am dairy intolerant and cheese would probably make me very ill.

Such a pity.

The Artful Diva said...

so, have you taken the tree down yet?

joyce said...

I'm always on the lookout for Christmas breakfast ideas that can be made the night before and stuck in the fridge....this one looks like a keeper (no mushrooms for me please!!)

~*~Patty S said...

lovely peeks at your special breakfast...I can still hardly believe that Christmas has come and gone already!

Happy weekend to you and yours dear Jeanie
oxo

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