When this strata came out of the oven this morning, I knew that it would be the basis of my next blog post. I like to think of a strata as a savory bread pudding. Unlike the sweet versions, this one is full of wholesome vegetables and, due to the addition of thyme and nutmeg, it makes the kitchen smell a little bit like Thanksgiving. The other good thing about a savory bread pudding is that, even though it lends itself easily to breakfast, it can make a quick weeknight dinner.
Spinach, Mushroom & Cheese Strata
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 sprigs of thyme
8 to 10 mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
10 oz fresh or frozen spinach (if using frozen, make sure to squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can)
6 cups cubed bread
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Grease and set aside an 8"x10" baking dish.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the thyme and mushrooms. Cook, stirring regularly, until the mushrooms have browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the spinach. Making use of the residual heat, toss the spinach with the warm mushrooms until it has wilted a bit.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add the bread, green onions, cilantro, cheese and the mushroom mixture.
4. Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour over the bread mixture and toss well. Pour the pudding mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake at 350 °F for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Serve warm.