For as long as my memory can recall, my family has eaten the same breakfast every Christmas morning: my mother’s breakfast casserole, warm homemade cranberry bread, and my dads sausage balls.
The strata, essentially a savory bread pudding with eggs, sausage, and cheddar cheese, is made the day before, and easily baked on Christmas morning. My dad, donning the red pajamas worn each year, wakes up early to turn on all of the Christmas lights, and the traditional holiday tunes. I’m in charge of that now.
The rest rumble out of bed, make our way around the tree, nibbling on generational recipes of sweet and savory delights while we peek into our stockings, followed by the opening of gifts one at a time.
If a local or visiting South Walton, I recommend visiting the Seaside Farmers Market for your fresh eggs in this dish. You will also find wonderful breads for your holiday meals.
Serves 4 to 6 people.
- 6 slices bread, preferably an Italian style deli loaf, cut 1/2 of an inch thick. Can also use gluten free
- 1 pound sage or hot pork breakfast sausage, your preference
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
- 1.5 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 + 1/2 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup half and half
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Dash of nutmeg
- Dash of cayenne
- Place bread into a 9 x 13 baking pan or similar, sprayed with non-stick spray or rubbed with butter. Brown sausage and drain off any excess fat. Stir in mustard, and spoon sausage evenly over bread. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Combine remaining ingredients (eggs, milk, half and half, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne), pour over cheese and sausage.
- Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool and set for 15 minutes.
Note: This is best if made the day before and refrigerated overnight. Warm to room temperature before baking. Can also make ahead and freeze.
A pound of bacon cooked and crumbled, or 2 cups of good ham chopped, can also be substituted in the recipe.