Thursday, January 8, 2009

Joanne's Brunch Strata

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This recipe comes from my friend, Joanne Kowalik, pictured here with her two sisters, Barbara (left) and Rita (right) on their way to a Rolling Stones concert. Joanne makes this brunch casserole for her family on Christmas morning. You can put it together the night before, then pop it into the oven the next morning...perfect for holiday entertaining.

8-oz. loaf French bread, cut into 1” cubes (6 cups) – use stale (1-day old bread)
1-2 lbs. mushrooms, sliced thin
1 cup finely chopped scallions
2 T olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
2 green bell peppers, cut into thin strips
2-½ cups coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
5 eggs
2-½ cups milk
3 T Dijon-style mustard
¼ tsp pepper
Tabasco to taste (optional)

Saute vegetables using moderate heat in olive oil until peppers are tender and liquid from mushrooms evaporates. Place bread cubes in greased 3-quart rectangular baking dish (9 x 13). Layer mushrooms, peppers and green onions over bread. Sprinkle with cheese. In a large mixing bowl, mix eggs with rotary beater; beat in milk, mustard and pepper; add Tabasco to taste. Carefully pour over layered vegetable mixture. Cover and chill 2 to 24 hours. Bake, uncovered in a 325 degree oven about 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in or near center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 10-12.

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