Entering the Strata-spherePosted: April 19, 2011
What happens when you take a lot of crusty bread and combine it with a mixture of eggs, cheese and other good stuff? Well, you end up with a bread puddling-like concoction with layers of unbelievable flavor. Also known as, a strata.
For my version, I decided to use a few classic breakfast flavors (eggs, pork sausage, cheese), some tasty veggies (mushrooms, shallots, broccoli) and some surprise ingredients (white wine, rosemary). The end result is an incredibly easy and extremely tasty dish. It can even be prepared a day ahead so it’s a great option if you want to have people over for brunch but don’t want to get up early to cook.
Sausage and Mushroom Strata
– 8 oz of pork breakfast sausage (like Jimmy Dean), crumbled
– 1 cup of white mushrooms, chopped
– 1 cup of broccoli, chopped
– 1 small shallot, diced
– 1 to 2 tablespoons of white wine
– ½ teaspoon of fresh rosemary, minced
– 5 eggs
– 1 cup of milk
– 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
– 3 large handfuls of Swiss cheese, grated
– ½ loaf of Italian bread, cubed
– Olive oil
– Salt & pepper
– Medium-sized baking dish
Start by browning the sausage in a medium pan. At the same time, sauté the shallots, mushrooms and broccoli in another pan over medium-low heat. Season the veggies with salt and pepper, add the white wine and cook for about 8 minutes, or until soft. When the sausage is fully cooked, combine it with the vegetables and season everything with the rosemary.
Next, whisk together the eggs, milk and mustard in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Butter the baking dish. (I used an 11-inch oval dish.) Layer some bread pieces in the bottom of the dish, sprinkle with a handful of Swiss and add half of the sausage mixture. Then create another layer of bread, cheese and sausage.
Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread and sausage. Sprinkle another handful of cheese on top. Cover and chill for 2 hours or up to 12 hours so the eggs are absorbed into the bread. (If left overnight, let the strata stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.)
Bake at 350ºF for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown, puffed up and heated throughout. Let it cool a few minutes before eating.
You’ll notice that the top has formed a cheesy crust while the inside remains soft and spongy. The bread really does soak up all the eggs and milk like, um, a sponge. The pork sausage has such a rich flavor (brought to life by the rosemary), and delivers on that classic breakfast taste. The mushrooms and broccoli add a good dose of vegetables, and the Dijon offers a subtle kick.
Best of all — since I made this the night before, all I had to do in the morning was throw it in the oven and couch it with my cup of coffee until it was done. How’s that for a lazy Sunday morning?