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« A Seasonal Salad | Main | My Go-to Holiday Appetizer »
Tuesday
Dec032013

Greet Holiday Guests with Breakfast

By Ben Mims
For Cooking Newbie, a blog for beginner cooks

During the holidays, there seems to be a Christmas party every other day. Most often, due to being tired and getting caught up in the holiday spirits, many of us wake up with a hangover the following morning…or is that just me?

More than the indulgences in sweets and champagne during the holidays, I love to indulge in breakfast. It’s the one time of the year I can have something rich for breakfast, and I relish that opportunity. Plus, in my family, we always had friends or family staying over the nights before the holidays and the days in between, so we always had to have breakfast for many on hand.

A strata is the perfect dish to fit the holiday breakfast bill. Basically a strata is a savory bread pudding, and just like bread pudding, is a great canvas for using leftovers. Use whatever meat and veggies you have lying around and this will be a quick, easy, and cheap indulgence.

For my recipe, I used what I had on hand: leftover cooked turkey from Thanksgiving, some breakfast sausage links from the freezer, an apple and some extra grated Parmesan cheese. Some other leftover flavorings – mustard, herbs, and maple syrup – help bring the whole hodge-podge together into a spectacular breakfast casserole. It can be made up to two days ahead and baked off in less than an hour when ready to feed your hungry holiday guests.

Holiday Breakfast Strata

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, cored and diced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups milk
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon each finely chopped thyme, rosemary, and sage
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 slices white country or sourdough bread, torn into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
3/4 cup leftover chopped turkey or chicken
4 links cooked breakfast sausage, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat; add apple, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add syrup and cinnamon, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk together milk, eggs, mustard, herbs, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to make the custard.
  3. Combine the bread, turkey, sausage, and cooled apple in a 2-qt. shallow oval or square baking dish. Pour custard over, and using your hands, press the mixture to allow the bread to soak up the custard; let sit for 10 minutes. If making ahead, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  4. Heat oven to 350°F. Unwrap baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Increase temperature to 400°, uncover, and sprinkle with Parmesan; continue cooking until puffed and golden brown on top, about 30 minutes more. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 to 8

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Related posts:
  1. Breakfast? Make Mine Sweet!
  2. Stalk-Up On Holiday Savings with Broccoli
  3. Breakfast for Dinner: Short Stacks
  4. The Last Big Holiday Party, Ever
  5. Holiday Butter Tarts

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