One of my New Year’s resolutions was to have people over more and unlike some others (ahem, exercise regularly, cut back on wine consumption during the week, etc. etc.), I’ve really stuck to this one. Sunday brunch has quickly become our favorite time to have friends over. People can bring their kids, dogs — everyone’s welcome. It’s a good day to just hang out, drink wine (again with the wine…), play Kinect and nosh all afternoon.
And the perfect dish for Sunday brunch is this mushroom strata. It’s quick to prepare, can be easily adapted and you can make it the night before, so all you have to do the morning of is pop it in the oven for an hour and Bob’s your uncle.
That leaves you plenty of time to get everything else ready, clean the house or…drink wine (is there a theme emerging here?).
Notes: In terms of timing, the longer it sits, the less eggy it is, so I actually prefer to cook the mushroom mixture the night before and put the strata together in the morning and let it sit for about 2-3 hours.
It would also be tasty with the addition of ground faux sausage to the mushroom mixture (Yves makes a really good one).
Adapted from Real Simple
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 onion, diced
10 ounces/6 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herb such as thyme or sage (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 cup nuts (walnuts, pecans and almonds are all good), roughly chopped
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped (apricots are nice too)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk (you can use soy/almond/rice/cow)
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
15-18 slices whole wheat bread (whole-grain/honey all work too)
1/4 pound Gruyère, grated (~3/4 cup)
1/4 pound provolone, grated (~3/4 cup)
Melt the butter in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes, then add the mushrooms and the herb Cook until the mushrooms have softened, but still hold their shape, about 5 minutes. Stir in the nuts and cranberries, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste and take off the heat.
In the meantime, lightly beat the eggs in a bowl and add the milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.
Lightly coat a 9″ x 13″ inch baking dish with olive oil spray. Using about 5-6 slices, place a layer of bread in the pan to cover the bottom. Spread half of the mushroom mixture on top of the bread, then top with 1/3 the cheese (you can mix the cheese or do layers, whatever floats your boat). Repeat with another layer of bread, mushrooms and cheese. Top with the last layer of bread; press the bread down to compact the layers.
Pour the egg mixture over the bread and top with the remaining cheese. Cover and refrigerate for minimum one hour or overnight. Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC and bake for one hour, uncovered (if the cheese on top gets too brown, cover with aluminum foil).