For those times when we have people in for the weekend, I’m always looking for great dishes to make for breakfast that don’t require a lot of effort in the morning. I’ve tried several different ways to make a Breakfast Strata.
A “Strata” is a layered casserole. There are as many different ways to make this as there are cooks that mix one together. It is similar to a quiche or frittata – generally, includes bread, eggs and cheese. Meats and vegetables can also be included. There are two basic methods – mix all of the ingredients together and put them in the casserole dish, or put all of the dry ingredients into the dish and pour an egg mixture over it.
Here is an easy and very tasty version that I have made on a variety of occasions:
First, brown the sausage and bacon and break into small pieces.
In a saute pan, melt one stick of butter. Add the shallots and red peppers and cook until they soften. Mix in the seasonings and pour the mixture into the bottom of the casserole dish (This makes a 9X13 – in the picture, I was making it for an event, so I used a foil pan – if you don’t want to clean up after cooking, this works great….)
Next spread the sausage and bacon as the second layer of the dish.
Now spread the bread pieces and cover with the cheese. I used Gruyere for this one.
In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs and add the dairy. Then pour the egg mixture over the casserole dish.
Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. I often take another casserole dish and set it on top and put a few cans of vegetables to weigh it down and keep all of the bread in the egg mixture.
In the morning, take the dish out of the refrigerator and preheat the oven. Use a baking stone in the oven to help it cook evenly – bake about an hour until brown and puffy – and once again, I forgot to take a picture when it came out of the oven and before it was eaten – but it looked great!
10 ounces sausage
10 ounces bacon
1/2 cup unsalted butter
5 each shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 each red bell pepper, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 each loaf French or Italian Bread, trimmed and torn into 1″ cubes
3 cups Gruyere cheese, grated (Or other favorite cheese)
8 each large eggs
2 3/4 cups whole milk
Brown sausage, break into small pieces. Cook bacon, chop into smaller pieces. Prepare a 9X13 baking dish by spraying with cooking spray.
Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and red pepper and cook stirring to soften. Stir in the salt, pepper, sugar, mustard, cayenne and nutmeg. Pour into the bottom of the 9X13 baking dish. Spread the sausage and bacon evenly over the bottom of the dish.
Place the break chunks into the dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle the Gruyere cheese (or cheese you choose to use) over the bread. Beat together the eggs. Slowly add the milk while continuing to beat the eggs. Pour the mixture over the top of the dish.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove dish from the refrigerator. Place the shelf in the lower third of your oven with a baking stone on it and preheat to 350 degrees. Place the strata on the hot baking stone and bake until puffed and browned, about 1 hour. Serve hot.