Savory Mushroom and Gruyère Strata
This layered casserole, perfect for an easy, make-ahead brunch, but classy and substantial enough for a satisfying dinner, features savory cheeses, eggs, and a whole lot of hearty mushroom flavor.
Think of strata as nothing more than a savory bread pudding. It's easy to make and can even be prepared the night before and baked just before you're ready to serve it.
Stratas aren't as well known as other classic casseroles. Many people have never even heard of them. But stratas combine all the classic elements of breakfast - eggs, milk, bread and cheese - and you can easily add or change ingredients around to suit the contents of your pantry or your appetite!
Lightly oil a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the sliced fresh mushrooms and reconstituted dried mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly and place in a large bowl.
Pour the dry sherry and 1 cup of the reserved mushroom liquid into the same pan used to cook the mushrooms. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half. Remove from heat.
Whisk the milk and eggs together in a bowl until thoroughly blended. Stir in the sherry-mushroom liquid and season with salt and pepper.
Arrange 6 slices of bread on the bottom of the oiled baking dish. Top with the mushroom mixture, half of the Gruyère, and half of Parmesan cheese. Top with the remaining bread slices. Pour the egg mixture over the top and press gently to make sure that the bread is entirely saturated. Cover place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Top with the remaining Gruyère and Parmesan cheese and bake uncovered until the top is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Serve hot.