Although I said last week that my favourite breakfast dishes are by far sweet ones, like this Lemon & White Chocolate Oatmeal, I do love a good breakfast casserole. Layers upon layers of egg, cheese and other indulgent ingredients which I totally can’t stomach for breakfast yet still shovel in my mouth at 8am, breakfast casseroles are the perfect way of saying ‘goodbye work week’ and ‘hello, weekend!’
Which makes it a bit strange that I’m posting this perfect weekend breakfast recipe on a Monday morning, but that’s how things turned out so that’s what we’re going with!
I know some of you might kill me after I make this statement, but I’ve got to be honest. If there was only room for bacon or sausages in this world, I’d have to pick sausages. Whether they take the form of great big British bangers, metre-long bratwursts or spicy lengths of chorizo, I. Love. Sausages.
Even though they’re packed full of so much fat that it’s tough to believe you can actually fit so many calories in something so small. But a little bit of what we fancy every now and then is good for us, right? Right? Tell me I’m right!
Before I made this one, I’d never even heard of a breakfast strata before. I only stumbled across the concept of one when I was browsing Pinterest and just knew I had to make one. I had some leftover bread that was at the end of its life and thought it would be perfect for soaking up all the other flavours ad ingredients and (luckily) I was right.
I’m not sure where the term ‘strata’ actually comes from and I have yet to look it up. The best way I can describe this dish is like savoury French toast on steroids. A layer of stale bread layered with sliced British sausages, sliced mushrooms and fragrant sage drowned in a rich mixture of milk and egg, all sprinkled with ooey-gooey cheese. True breakfast bliss.
There is a bit of a weird step in the making of this recipe. After layering all the ingredients beautifully, you need to squish them tightly together. Yeah, you heard me. You need to find a similar sized dish to the one you put all the ingredients in, lower it on top of the uncooked strata and fill it with something heavy – I used two jars of garbanzo beans – so it squishes it.
When I first read that step I was going to omit it, but My Official Treat Taster persuaded me not to. By weighing all the ingredients down, the bread is forced to absorb as much of the flavours as possible and results in the dish not taking on a puffy soufflé-like texture which is what will happen if you don’t squish the ingredients together.
I prefer to make this dish and then store it in the fridge overnight before baking in the oven. That way, breakfast is pretty much ready the next day – all you need to do is leave it in the oven and let it do its thing for 45 minutes. You can prep this strata in the morning you want to eat it, but you’ll need to leave it in the fridge for at least to hours to give the flavours time to infuse and the ingredients time to smush together.
I find this quite a hearty dish for first thing in the morning, so I usually have it for dinner. Do you ever have breakfast for dinner at your house?
Sausage, Mushroom and Sage Breakfast Strata
- 3 British-style sausages
- 3 large mushrooms sliced
- 4 slices thick of bread stale bread works brilliantly
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried onion powder
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup grated cheese
- Cut the sausages up into bite-sized pieces and fry them in a pan with a tiny bit of oil until completely cooked through. Leave to one side on some kitchen paper to drain.
- Drain most of the oil out of the pan.
- Place the mushrooms into the pan and cook for around ten minutes until soft and juicy.
- Lay the slices of bread into a 9"x9" baking tray and top with the cooked sausage and mushrooms.
- Beat the eggs, milk, sage, onion powder, salt and pepper together and pour it over the bread.
- Top with grated cheese.
- Lightly cover the baking tray with plastic wrap and place a tray of the same size or smaller on top, covering as much of the strata as you can. Weigh it down with something heavy - such as filled jars or cans - and place in the fridge for 2-24 hours.
- When you're ready to eat, remove the weights, second baking tray and plastic wrap from the strata and bake in a 180C/350F preheated oven for around 45 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and bubbly.
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