The Dish: Xmas Morning Strata

The last thing you want to worry about Christmas morning is what you’re going to feed your family after they’re done tearing through presents. Strata is the perfect solution. A savory bread pudding, great hot or at room temperature and can be made ahead of time and either cooked later or reheated.

Assemble the strata the night before and let it rest in the fridge. If your oven has a timer on it, set it to preheat before you wake up. That way all you have to do Christmas morning is toss the strata in the oven and let it bake. No missing out on the kids opening presents and no ungrateful starving children demanding breakfast.

This dish is extremely versatile. Any or all of the vegetables can be substituted as well as the cheese. For an even heartier dish add some crumbled sausage or bacon.

 Xmas Morning Strata

Serves 6-8

3 Tbs. olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, diced

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

about 2 cups kale, finely torn

1 can crushed tomatoes

1 can cannellini beans, drained

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 tsp paprika

1 Tbs. fresh basil and thyme, chopped

8 cups French or Italian bread, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 cups gruyere, grated

1 cup taleggio, grated

2 3/4 cup milk

9 eggs

cooking spray


Saute onions and garlic in oil until softened. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute until lightly golden brown. Add kale and saute until wilted. Pour in tomatoes and cook until liquid is reduced and veggies aren’t too watery. Add beans and herbs. Check seasoning and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl beat eggs and milk together. Add the paprika and about 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.

Spray a large (at least 3 quarts) baking dish with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Spread 1/3 of the bread in the bottom of the dish. Top with 1/3 of the vegetables and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat until dish is full ending with cheese on top. Pour egg mixture evenly over strata. Cover with plastic wrap and chill over night or up to 8 hours for bread to absorb custard.

Preheat oven to 350°F. If you have an oven with a timer, set it to preheat before you wake up so you don’t have to wait as long in the morning. Let strata sit and come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before putting in the oven.

Cook strata in middle of the oven until golden brown, set and puffed up, about 45-60 minutes (may take longer depending on your oven). Let rest about 5 minutes before serving.

Great hot or at room temperature. This dish is perfect for breakfast or brunch. Slice leftovers into single servings and freeze for a quick and hearty breakfast or lunch.