I love breakfast. So does my family, but you wouldn’t know it because “breakfast” is a bad word in my parents’ house (I can hear my mom yelling “Emily!” right now, to which I say “breakfastbreakfastbreakfast!”).
Anyhow, I wanted my family to have a delicious and warm treat on Christmas morning since we’d all be together, so I decided to try making a strata for the first time. Christmas morning you don’t want to have to do much, so the brilliant thing about breakfast casseroles is that you just pop them in the oven and wait for them to be ready. I would describe a strata as a savory-breakfast-french-toast-like-custard-thing. That is to say, a mess of bread cubes, eggs, cheese, milk, and whatever else you want to throw in there. This one was spinach and mushrooms and delicious. You can add some leftover holiday ham if you so choose, or bacon (nothing wrong with that), but this was delicious just as it was (and veg-friendly, you’re welcome sister).
My starting point to get some basic measurements was Epicurious. From there it was mainly just what we had/I wanted to add. I prepped the strata Christmas Eve before bed and just threw it in the oven in the morning–easy peasy. Combined with mimosas and coffee, this was a hit Christmas morning and it will definitely be made again!
Spinach and Mushroom Strata
- 1 lb Italian or French bread, cut into 1-in cubes (day-old preferable)
- 9 eggs
- 10 to 16 oz sliced mushrooms (crimini preferable)
- 1 large white or yellow onion, diced
- 1 lb frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed out thoroughly (wring out in a dishtowel for best results)
- 2 3/4 c milk
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 c grated cheese
- Note: We had a bag of shredded cheddar and jack, and I threw some grated parmesan in, but gruyere/fontina and parm would work great too
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- Ground nutmeg (or grate it in fresh)
- Red pepper flakes
- Dried thyme
- Salt & pepper
What to do:
- Whisk eggs, milk, mustard, and a pinch each of salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Melt the butter over medium heat and cook onions, adding a pinch of salt and couple of pinches of pepper, and a healthy dose of ground nutmeg (~1/2 tsp). Cook about 7 minutes until the onions are beginning to caramelize.
- Add your mushrooms, as well as pepper flakes as desired and a couple of pinches of your dried thyme.
- Cook until the mushrooms have browned and most of their moisture has cooked off, about 7-10 minutes. Turn off heat and add the wrung-out spinach and stir, breaking up clumps and making sure the mixture is evenly distributed.
- Cover the bottom of your baking dish with bread cubes (should be about 1/3 of your cubes). Cover with 1/3 of your mushroom spinach mixture
- …and then a handful of your cheese (about 1 c of the cheese).
- Make another layer of your bread and then proceed again with mushroom/spinach mixture and cheese and then a final 3rd tier of bread then mushrooms/spinach and then topped with the remaining cup of cheese. So you have 3 layers of bread topped with veggies topped with cheese.
- Pour your egg mixture evenly over the bread.
- You’re done! Well, almost. Cover with foil and let that little one hang out in your fridge overnight. In the morning, let it rest on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour before popping it in a 350°F oven for 45-55 minutes (until it’s all golden and firmed up). Let it rest for a bit before serving.
This really is so easy. You don’t even have to cook veggies–if you have some leftover roasted/otherwise vegetables or cooked meat such as ham or sausage, I’m sure that would be delicious. Play with it–that’s what food’s for!
Happy holidays and enjooooy 🙂