Breakfast has long been a favourite meal of mine, as long as it involves a lazy morning, coffee and a savoury meal. I am not one for pancakes, waffles or anything sweet – but put a plate of eggs, hash browns and bacon on the table and I am happy.
My girlfriend had us over for brunch a while back and when we were arrived, we were greeted by the smells of an amazing strata. When we sat down to eat, it was warm, comforting and delicious and reminded me how good a strata could be. I love that strata’s are a little work to prepare ahead of time, but they are perfect for company and gatherings, as they are fairly hands-off once in the oven. They also reheat beautifully, so it would be a great option for those quick weekday breakfasts too, if you are organized enough on a Sunday to prep it.
One of my friends in Vancouver recently had a sweet baby girl and although we cooked up a storm before her arrival and stocked her freezer, I still loved bringing her meals every time I visited, just to make her life a little easier. She loves all things breakfast (sweet things too – which you will see in a future post!), so I combined a few recipes and brought this strata one Saturday morning when my Mom and I visited her. It definitely won the praises of all who enjoyed it. It is hearty, savoury and just perfect for a weekend brunch, and if you are lucky, leftovers for the week.
If you are looking for a crowd-pleasing, impressive brunch item, this is it. You can also spoil those you love and make it for a weekday breakfast, but be careful as it will be requested, again and again.
Be well and enjoy!
Savoury Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Strata
Yield: 8-12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus 8+ hours in the fridge
Cook Time: Approximately 1 hour
- 1 pound breakfast sausage
- 1.5 cups finely chopped onion (about 1 large)
- 2.5 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 8 cups cubed (1 inch) sourdough bread (or other French style)
- 6 oz coarsely grated Gruyère (about 2 cups)
- 2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1 cup)
- 3 cups milk
- 14 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp butter
Cook the breakfast sausage according to the package directions. Once cooked through, drain the fat and set-aside the sausage in a bowl. Once you have drained the fat from the sausage and removed it from the pan, add the onion to the pan and sauté for a few minutes, till the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the onion to your cooked sausage, and then add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg. Stir. Add in the fresh spinach.
Butter a 9×13 baking dish. Spread one third of bread cubes into the bottom of the baking dish and top evenly with one third of sausage and spinach mixture. Sprinkle with one third of each cheese.
Repeat layering twice (ending with cheeses).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, mustard, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Once nice and frothy, pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture. Do not stir or worry about it looking uneven, it’ll be fine once it has time to set in the fridge.
Cover your strata with plastic wrap or tinfoil, place in fridge and let sit for at least 8 hours (for bread to absorb egg mixture). This is best to do the night before and then the work is done for the morning.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Remove the strata from the fridge about 30 minutes before baking, to allow it to come to room temperature.
Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes.
Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with a nice simple green salad, fresh fruit or all by itself.