Here’s a little Christmas morning surprise. This Breakfast Strata (aka Egg Casserole) with mushrooms, caramelized onions, goat cheese & thyme is an easy, make-ahead brunch recipe for a lazy relaxing morning. Put this together the night before and refrigerate. When you wake up Christmas morning, just place it in your oven to bake. When it comes out, it will be puffed and golden and deliciously fragrant. You can also bake this in individual ramekins or mini cast iron skillets for a fun, different presentation. And of course you can make it and bake it the same day too!
We are done catering for the year. I always have to let out a huge sigh of relief after the last catering event of the holiday season because now it’s time to relax. We worked our butts off this year and I’ve been feeling it.
On our first day off, we strapped on our cross-country skis and skied right out the front door. Mother nature was good to us this year and has blanketed our little world with beautiful fluffy white snow. Being outside in the snow actually helps us stave off the winter blues, so we try to get outside often.
On our second day off we went to a movie. It had been so long since I’d been to a movie, I didn’t realize that movie theaters now have commercials before the show, and to my amazement — reclining chairs! What? Where have I been? They were so comfy and cozy, it was impossible not to fall asleep.
The strata starts with eggs and bread.
Cut a loaf of crusty sourdough or french bread into cubes and toast them in a 400 F oven for 10 minutes.
If adding bacon to the strata, crisp the strips up in the oven at the same time as the bread.
Brian loves his bacon so I added bacon crumbles to his half of the strata. Truthfully, I found myself over on his side of the strata more than I want to admit…the smoky bacon crumbles added a lot of flavor.
Caramelized onions add a lot of flavor too. Thinly slice them and make sure to caramelize them until they are golden brown.
Saute the mushrooms, season with salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Add the onions to the mix.
Toss the mushroom onion mixture with the toasted bread.
Add the crispy bacon to it if you want. Combine it with the egg mixture, add the goat cheese and place it right in the oven, or refrigerate it until morning.
If refrigerating overnight, make sure to pull the strata out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature first before placing it in the oven, to help ensure even baking.
Bake it covered for the first 35 minutes, then uncovered for last 30 minutes. When it comes out, it will be puffed and golden, crispy on the outside and moist and creamy inside.
Breakfast Strata with Caramelized Onion, Mushrooms & Thyme
A make ahead baked egg dish with mushrooms, caramelized onions, goat cheese ( or any cheese of your choosing) and thyme, with optional bacon crumbles.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 65 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 25 mins
- Yield: 8
- Category: Breakfast Strata with Mushrooms, Caramelized onions, Goat Cheese and Thyme
- 1 loaf crusty sourdough or french bread
- 4-5 slices bacon (optional)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion – very thinly sliced into rings
- 1-2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 pound mushrooms sliced
- 3 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 10 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups whole milk (or half and half)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4-6 ounces goat cheese
- thyme sprigs for garnish.
- 1 1/2 cups grated gruyere, jack, mozzerella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Cut bread in to ¾ inch cubes and lay on a baking sheet and toast in the oven 10 minutes.
- If adding bacon, spread out on a foil lined baking sheet and bake in the oven 20 minutes or until crisp. (Blot, then cut into small pieces)
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add thinly sliced onions. Saute, mixing often for 2-3 minutes, then turn heat down to medium low, continuing to cook until golden and tender, about 10 minutes. In another large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add fresh thyme and a generous 3 finger pinch of salt and pepper. Add the caramelized onions to the mushrooms and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, sour cream, salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, add the toasted cubed bread. To this add the mushroom-onion-thyme mixture and bacon crumbles if using. Add the grated cheese and ⅔ of the crumbled goat cheese (saving the rest for the top) and gently mix.
- Pour in the eggs and give a gentle stir. Let stand 5 minutes.
- Stir again and pour into a well greased 4 quart baking dish. (At this point you could refrigerate overnight).
- Cover with foil and place the 400 F oven and bake 35 minutes, Uncover, lower heat to 375 F and continue baking 20-30 more minutes until puffed and golden. During the last 10 minutes of baking, scatter the remaining goat cheese over the top and let it melt.
- Garnish with a few thyme sprigs.
If refrigerating overnight, be sure to remove from fridge 40-60 mins before baking, so it comes to room temperature.
Feel free to add spinach, arugula or other greens to the mushroom mixture for a boost in nutrients.