I love bread. People that don’t eat bread? Sheww… I feel bad for them. French bread? Yes please. Italian bread? Sure thing. Baguettes topped with anything? Absolutely. Sliced sourdough packed with cheese and toasted on a griddle? MY FAVORITE. So when I go to the store and the bakery has discounted bread on the day-old rack, I stock up. Last week I made a bread pudding out of French bread and today I’m making a strata for dinner out of a stale baguette.
Today’s dinner uses the long, skinny, unassuming baguette. Crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside. Perfect for sucking up milk and eggs. Here you go.
Savory Onion, Mushroom, Sausage, and Cheese Strata
- one large Vidalia or sweet onion, chopped
- 16 ounce container sliced mushrooms (white mushrooms are okay, baby bellas are better)
- 1 tsp basil (dried)
- 1 tsp oregano (dried)
- 1 pound fresh mild flavored sausage (breakfast sausage or mild italian sausage)
- 1 baguette cut into bite-sized pieces
- 16 ounce container whole milk or heavy cream
- 6 eggs, whisked in large bowl
- sprinkle of nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 7-8 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded
- 7-8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Place 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in large skillet and add chopped onions.
Sprinkle a pinch of salt over onions. Cook on medium heat 10 minutes.
Add sliced mushrooms. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over mushrooms. Cook 10 more minutes.
Add some cracked black pepper. Place a tsp oregano in palm of your hand and crush to release oils while adding to onions and mushrooms. Place a tsp basil in palm of your hand and crush to release oils while adding to mixture.
Stir mixture and allow to cook 20 minutes until softened and a bit caramelized.
While that’s cooking, whisk the 6 eggs and milk/cream in large bowl.
Add sprinkle of nutmeg.
Whisk to combine.
Now remove the mushrooms and onions to a medium sized bowl and place the sausage in the pan and cook until brown and crumbled.
Now combine the sausage, mushrooms and onions back in the pan and toss to create a delicious pan of yumminess.
TASTE IT. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Allow to cook together for 5 minutes and then remove from heat and allow to cool for a bit.
Cut the baguette into bite-sized pieces.
And place the baguette in the milk/cream/egg mixture and toss to coat.
Allow to soak while you prepare the pan and shred the cheese.
Spray a large casserole dish or cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
Shred your blocks of cheese.
I chose cheddar because it’s tasty. I added Gruyere to it because I like the melt-ability. I lucked out at the store because I found this one: APPLEWOOD SMOKED GRUYERE. Perfect with sausage.
Place some of the bread in the bottom of the pan.
Top with half of the sausage/onion/mushroom mixture.
Top with half of the cheese.
Layer the rest of the bread on top of that. And don’t waste that milk and egg that’s left in the bowl.
Place the rest of the sausage/onion/mushroom mixture on top of the bread.
Finish the whole thing with the remainder of the cheese.
Rip off a piece of foil and spray it with non-stick spray.
Place it over the strata and push down on the contents. Your goal here is to allow that custard mixture to soak into the bread cubes and the flavors to all marry together. Yum. Place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. I made mine midday and will eat it this evening for dinner.
When you are ready to make it, remove it from the fridge and preheat the oven to 350F. Allow to bake (foil on) for 45 minutes. Remove foil carefully
and bake for 15 more minutes until bubbly and crusty. Allow 15 minutes or more to rest before serving.
We had creamed corn in the freezer from last summer so that’s what we had with this hearty meal. It was nice to have something sweet and simple paired with this since it’s so rich. A nice glass of Pinot Grigio would be nice with this, too.