Spinach Mushroom Strata

Story by Holly
Spinach Mushroom Strata
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In its essence, a meal is a creative act that has it’s genesis in the mind of someone who cares enough to plan it, gather the ingredients, and labor over its creation. A tangible sense of well-being comes to rest on a home where someone is bustling about the kitchen preparing food that will nourish the body and act as a catalyst for conversation.

Andi Ashworth

Spinach Mushroom Strata

Once a month we find ourselves in Holly’s kitchen planning and cooking brunch for 120 lovely ladies. It’s a circus of sorts. We are reading and re-reading our recipes to be sure that we don’t miss a step or an ingredient. All the while, juggling a baby on one hip, sending one kid to time out, blocking the door so the cat doesn’t escape and making a valiant effort to clean as we go. See? A real circus.

This group we cook for is particularly special because, just like us, they are woman. They gather to hear one anothers stories. And every month, as woman eat the food we prepared with love, we watch real woman be real. And we love it. In fact, we more than love it, it is our mission. Our hope is, over time we will look back at all the recipes we’ve prepared for various gatherings and we won’t see food, but rather the faces of those that shared their stories while sitting to eat it.

Spinach Mushroom Strata

Spinach Mushroom Strata

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 loaf day-old baguette or crusty bread, crust removed, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tbs butter
1 small onion
3 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary (about 1 tbs)
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
3 cups fresh spinach, packed
2 cups swiss cheese, grated
8 eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook the onions and sprigs of herbs in the butter. Cook for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent and tender. Add the mushrooms to the onions and cook until soft and most of the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Last, add the spinach to the pan and cook another 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted and completely cooked down, about 5 minutes. Pull the pan off the heat, and let cool. Remove any stems the herbs have left behind.
  3. In a springform pan, measure out the toasted bread. The amount of bread you need, should fill the springform pan almost to the top. Once you have measured this, place that amount of bread back into the empty mixing bowl. Add the onion mixture and 2 cups of swiss cheese to the bread in the mixing bowl. Toss to combine evenly.
  4. Turn oven down to 350° F.
  5. In a blender combine the eggs, milk, cream, salt, pepper, mustard and nutmeg. Blend for 10 seconds until combined.
  6. Line your springform pan with parchment paper, taking care that the sides of the paper is carefully folded and will not leak the egg mixture all over your oven. Placing the pan on top of a baking sheet ensures you won't have any oven spills. Add the bread and onion mixture to the pan. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the bread. Press the bread cubes down to make sure they are totally submerged.
  7. Bake the strata uncovered (cover with foil only if it starts getting too brown on top) until the mixture has puffed slightly, is golden brown on top and does not shimmy with uncooked egg mixture when you shake the pan, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the strata cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the strata from the springform pan, by unlocking the side of the pan. Keep the parchment paper intact. Let the parchment paper fall to the countertop a bit so that you can cut the strata into 8 equal wedges. Then taking a piece of twine, scoop the sides of the parchment paper snug against the sliced strata. Tie a knot. Serve strata warm or at room temp.