Breakfast Strata

 

Many Americans have their go-to potluck recipe and it’s usually some type of casserole dish that can feed a large group. Growing up in a Korean household, casseroles were foreign to me.  I made my first casserole in 7th grade after purchasing a used Sunset cookbook at a garage sale for 25¢, which I read from cover to cover. The first casserole dish I made was Chicken Casserole with frozen vegetables, cream of mushroom soup, and bread crumbs.  I made it and thought I cooked it incorrectly because it didn’t taste very good.  I tried other casserole recipes, but everything was a disappointment until I came across a strata recipe.  This one was different from the rest, layered with bread, cheese and an egg custard. It was essentially a savory bread pudding.  It was so good that this became my favorite casserole recipe.  Years later, I added my own spin to it by including different ingredients like bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, green onion, Swiss chard, etc.

Here is a great one to serve during the Holidays for a family brunch. It has my favorite breakfast ingredients: eggs, turkey sausage, spinach, mushrooms, and cheese.  It’s a one-pot breakfast. You can even assemble the ingredients the night before and place it in the refrigerator, then pop it in the oven the next morning and viola, breakfast is served.

Breakfast Strata

Serving Size: 6-8

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon of onion

Olive oil

½ an onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

6 ounces of turkey sausage (casing removed, rolled into ½” balls)

4 ounces of sliced cremini mushrooms

8 ounces of fresh baby spinach

Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

2 cups of low-fat milk

5 extra-large eggs

1 tablespoon of Mailie Dijon mustard

6 ounces of grated Comte (Gruyere or Mild White Cheddar)

2 ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano

10 ounces of day old country white, cubed

6 basil leaves, chopped

  1. Heat a large skillet to medium. Add 2 tbs. of olive oil and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds. Add the turkey sausage, mushrooms, a pinch of salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.  Sauté until golden brown. Remove the sausage and mushroom mixture from pan and set aside.
  1. Add spinach to the same pan and sauté until wilted. Remove liquid. Add the spinach to the mushroom mixture.
  1. In a large bowl whisk eggs. Add milk, mustard, ½ teaspoon salt and pinch of pepper. Whisk until combined. Set aside.
  1. Mix the Comte and Parmigiano a small bowl. Set Aside.
  1. Begin the layering process. Add 1/3 of the bread on the bottom of the casserole dish. Add ½ of the sausage mixture and 1/3 of the cheese mixture, evenly spreading over the bread. Repeat and top with bread mixture. Save the last 1/3 of cheese mixture and basil leaves.
  1. Pour the liquid mixture over the layered ingredients. Press down to absorb. Add the remaining cheese mixture and basil leaves. Cover with aluminum foil. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  1. Add the strata with aluminum foil in the oven for 30 minutes.
  1. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Remove the foil. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and place on the cooling rack. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Cut and serve with a side salad.

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