Holiday Sausage Strata
“Holiday Sausage Strata” sounds like a complicated dish, dreamed up by some Larousse or Emeril to further complicate one’s Christmas and New Year traditions. Who knows – some famous chef may have been responsible for this masterpiece, but the saving grace of this recipe (in this time of absorbingly complex kitchen activity) – featuring all the breakfast essentials of eggs, sausage, cheese, and bread – is that it is laughably easy and guaranteed to please the crowd – either on Christmas morning, or on New Year’s Day (when it contributes all the ingredients necessary to soak up last night’s revelry, if needed).
The point of Holiday Sausage Strata is to provide a meal on the actual day of celebration without the cook needing to be absent from the festivities in the other room. So – if you want to blow them all away with your creative genius, and guarantee the contented silence that comes from eating something really satisfying – break out the Holiday Sausage Strata. This recipe makes enough for 8 people. If your festival crowd is bigger, double or triple it – no problem, as long as you have oven space.
- 750g breakfast sausage. I prefer two packages of Johnsonville Original Recipe, but ANY GF breakfast sausage will do.
- 12 slices gluten-free bread of your choice
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 9 eggs
- 3 cups milk
- 2 tsp seasoning salt
- 2 tsp dry mustard powder
- 1-2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp Club House Italian Seasoning (from the family of Club House seasoning mixtures, GF and excellent shortcuts) If you have none, use dried basil, oregano, or rosemary.
The day before the breakfast at which this will be served:
- If using pre-made breakfast sausages – squeeze the meat out of the casings, and discard the casings. You can also get sausage meat without casings. Children tend to like the squishing-out of the meat from the casings – if you are inclined to let them help.
- Put the sausage into a large skillet or frying pan Cook over medium-high heat until browned. Drain off the excess fat.
- Cut the bread into cubes, roughly 2 cm in size. Beauty and precision do not count here, just chop them up. Put them in a lightly-greased 9×13 pan. If you are concerned about the pan not being deep enough to avoid spillage once this is in the oven, you can put some of the bread into an additional small pan or small lasagne baking dish.
- Add the shredded cheddar cheese, mixed in with the bread.
- Add the sausage meat, spread evenly. No need to mix excessively.
- In a big bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, seasoning salt, mustard powder, and onion powder.
- Pour the egg mixture over all the meat and sausage and cheese, making sure everything gets soaked.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge overnight.
The next morning:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the plastic wrap, and put the pan(s) in the oven for about an hour, or until a knife stuck into the middle of the casserole comes out clean. Go back to the unwrapping of gifts while this cooks.
- Let the strata stand for about 15 minutes before serving. While it sits there, you can crank the oven to 450 degrees and make some hashbrown patties to go alongside.
Serve with ketchup, hot sauce, or nothing else at all. Leftovers also keep very well in the fridge, to be microwaved the next day, if you like. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!