I’ve seen many make-ahead breakfast bakes posted this week and I fully understand why this is a well loved and well utilized tradition around the holidays. I remember my mother first making this strata for Christmas in 2013 when we hosted my husband’s parents for a holiday feast. She used this recipe from King Arthur Flour, which is not only a brand but also an amazing bakery/store that you should check out if you are ever in Vermont! The original recipe calls for a rectangular 9×13 baking dish but I used an oval dish about 8×13 and cut the recipe in half (rounding up), so that’s what you’ll see below.
On Christmas Eve, while the roast beef was resting and the mushroom gravy was being made, I sauteed the breakfast sausage and blanched the broccoli. Then, I layered all of the ingredients and topped it with whisked eggs and milk. I also threw in a splash of heavy cream for good measure because it was staring at me from the fridge begging not to go to waste. Ha!
On Christmas morning we pulled the dish out of the fridge and popped it into the oven the minute we woke up and then opened stockings. The overall bake time was 1 hour and 30 minutes that morning but we didn’t even notice the time as we were happily engrossed in stockings.
Recipe makes about 6-7 servings
- 1/2 pound broccoli florets
- 7 slices of bread
- 1/2 pound of breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
- 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (Cabot ideally!)
- 1 Tablespoon minced dried onion
- 5 large eggs
- 2 cups of milk
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of dry mustard
- Black pepper to taste
- A few splashes of heavy cream (optional)
Steps and Notes:
- Cook the sausage and drain any fat – set aside.
- Blanch the broccoli for 2 minutes then run under cool water and set aside.
- Grease your pan and then layer half of the cubed bread in the dish. Cover with all of the cooked sausage, 3/4 of the broccoli, half of the cheese, and the dried onion. Then add the rest of the bread and cheese.
- Note: Put the rest of the broccoli away in the fridge; you’ll use it the next day
- Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, mustard, and a few splashes of heavy cream if you desire. Pour over the strata mixture fully. Use your hands to push the egg mix into the bread.
- Note: We added a tiny bit more milk at this step to ensure the bread was covered. It seemed low but when it baked the next day it puffed up well.
- Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Then, place the remaining broccoli on top of the strata pushing it in slightly to secure each piece.
- Bake for 45 more minutes or so until fully set then serve warm!
Thoughts for Next Time:
- Increase the amount of broccoli
- Use a focaccia or a fancier bread
- Line the bottom with thinly sliced potatoes to make a crust