Seattle chef and restaurant owner Tom Douglas, along with his wife Jackie, have a favorite breakfast casserole that they make every year during the holidays. In fact, the wild mushroom strata that Tom’s wife Jackie Douglas makes for Christmas morning breakfast is one way that the Douglas family always knows it is truly Christmas time in their household.
Tom Douglas
Chef, Restaurateur And Author
Dahlia Bakery
2001 Fourth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 441-4540
www.tomdouglas.com

Jackie Douglas, wife of Seattle chef, author and restaurateur Tom Douglas, uses fresh, rustic breads made by their restaurant, Dahlia Bakery, to make her scrumptious and filling wild mushroom, sausage and chard strata. Strata is similar to a casserole or bread pudding, and Jackie’s favorite strata recipe is not only available in “The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook,” but chef Tom Douglas has generously provided it, as well, so that anyone may enjoy this delicious breakfast entree for the upcoming holiday season.

Strata With Wild Mushrooms, Sausage And Chard (Courtesy of Tom and Jackie Douglas)

Jackie Douglas’ Favorite Strata With Wild Mushrooms, Sausage And Chard

  • 1 loaf of rustic bread, about 1 1/2 pounds, remove thick crusts with a serrated knife
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 2 tbsp. butter, divided, plus more for buttering the pan
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil (plus 2 teaspoons more if your sausage is lean)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 pound wild or domestic mushrooms (shiitakes, chanterelles, button, or oyster mushrooms), trim tough ends, clean and slice
  • 1 pound chard, wash and remove stems
  • 2 tsp. thinly sliced chives
  • 2 tsp. chopped thyme
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 3/4 pound grated, white or yellow cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. First, butter a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  2. Then, use a serrated knife and cut the bread into one-inch cubes and set aside. You should only have six loosely packed cups of bread cubes. *Note: It is important to only have this amount of bread and not more. If you have too much, your strata will get too firm and not creamy inside.
  3. Cook sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat. As it is cooking, break it up into small clumps with a spatula. If the sausage is low-fat, you may need to add two tsp. of olive oil to the skillet to keep the sausage moist as it cooks.
  4. Continue cooking the sausage, flipping the sausage clumps as needed. After about 10 minutes, no pink should remain and the sausage should be done.
  5. Remove the pan of sausage from the heated burner and move the meat into a large size sieve that should be set over a bowl, so any remaining fat can drain off. Dispose of the fat and place the cooked sausage off to the side.
  6. Melt one tbsp. butter in a second skillet, over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and stir as needed until the onion begins to turn brown and becomes soft (usually about five minutes).
  7. Remove the onion and put in a large bowl. Add the additional one tbsp. of butter, plus the two tbsp. of olive oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat. After the butter melts, add the wild mushrooms and stir as needed while cooking. The mushrooms should be done once they are tender and the juices have evaporated (usually six to eight minutes).
  8. Next, add the cooked mushrooms to the bowl containing the cooked onions.
  9. To blanch cook the chard, bring a pot of salted water to boiling. Boil the chard and cook until tender (about two minutes).
  10. Drain the chard through the sieve and then immediately plunge it into a bowl of ice water. Drain the chard again and with your hands, squeeze out as much of the excess water as you can.
  11. Chop the chard and add it to the bowl of onions and mushrooms. Next, add the drained sausage, bread cubes, thyme and chives to the bowl. Set aside 3/4 of the grated cheese and add the rest to the mixed bowl of ingredients and stir to combine everything.
  12. Move the contents of the bowl to your buttered baking pan and spread the mixture evenly within the pan.
  13. Prepare the custard in a separate bowl by whisking your eggs together and then adding the cream and whisking the mixture some more. Add the salt and pepper and whisk again to mix thoroughly. Then, pour the custard over your bread mixture, already in the baking dish. Use your spatula to press down on the bread and cover everything within the custard.
  14. Sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup of grated cheese over the top of the mixture and cover the baking dish with plastic wrap. Allow the baking dish mixture to refrigerate for at least a couple of hours overnight.
  15. When it is time to bake the strata, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the plastic wrap from the baking dish and bake the strata uncovered, for about an hour, until it is golden in color, and the custard is set and puffed. You can check to see if it is done by inserting a small knife into the casserole mixture and if the knife comes out clean, it is finished baking. Remove the pan from the oven and cool it on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. You can then cut it into squares and serve it warm.
Sue Gabel has been writing entertainment and travel-related articles in the greater Puget Sound/Seattle area since 1999. She writes about music, the Seattle scene and more. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.
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