A Squared: What's for Brunch Wednesday: Ham & Mushroom Strata

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What's for Brunch Wednesday: Ham & Mushroom Strata

Since it's my birthday week, I can do whatever I want (kind of). And today, I want to have brunch for dinner... specifically, this ham & mushroom strata.


Not too long ago, I rediscovered strata and decided that it was delicious. And how could it not be? It's an entire brunch spread baked in one pan-- like french toast meets omelet and becomes a casserole. And totally customizable based on your tastes and preferences.


We recently had house guests in town for the weekend and I was-- admittedly-- not a great hostess. We had a busy week leading up to the weekend, so we weren't able to prep like we normally would-- including stocking our fridge, which was pretty bare by the time Friday rolled around. So, on Sunday morning when everyone was sleeping and I decided to make brunch, finding something to make was a bit of a struggle. So, I surveyed my refrigerator and realized I had bread, eggs, and milk: the beginnings of my new favorite brunch food strata. While I didn't have the broccoli and bacon on hand that I used in the last one I made, I got creative with what I found in my own kitchen that day to create a very French-inspired strata with mushrooms, ham, Swiss cheese, and fresh herbs.


I know that I have featured a lot of mushroom recipes around here lately for someone who professes to not be a mushroom fan, but I truly enjoy them when sauteed in white wine and then combined with a salty meat (like ham, or like pancetta in this flatbread), sharp Swiss cheese, and earthy fresh herbs. And those flavors and textures work together beautifully in this strata, which tastes delicious and looks both rustic and elegant at the same time.


It's the perfect brunch dish to make for guests because it's impressive and easy to make-- even for a crowd!


Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced
  • 1 Tbs. fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine 
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup ham, diced
  • 4 cups French bread, cubed
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 tsp. hot sauce
  • 2 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in mushrooms, sage, 1 tsp. thyme leaves, and salt and pepper. Carefully pour in the wine and sauté for an additional 8-10 minutes, stirring often until liquid in the pan has reduced and is almost completely evaporated. Remove from heat.

Lightly grease a small baking dish with olive oil. Layer the cubed bread evenly in the dish. Follow by sprinkling the mushroom mixture, ham, and remaining thyme leaves evenly over the top of the bread.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, hot sauce, mustard, remaining thyme leaves, and pepper. Pour evenly over the top of the ingredients in the baking dish. Sprinkle cheeses over the top and drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Cover and bake for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, uncover and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes or until egg mixture is set and not liquidy.

Serve warm.

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