Hearty, Make Ahead Christmas Breakfast Strata
Keep Christmas morning stress free with this easy peasy breakfast strata. A simple and elegant alternative to scrambled eggs that can be put together the night before and heated in a cold oven in the morning.
Being an avid cook, I used to love to prepare an elaborate brunch on Christmas morning. However, when my husband and I started our family it became nearly impossible to juggle an fussy brunch and a young family.
Nonetheless, I wanted Christmas morning to feel special, and for my kids to grow up with warm, fuzzy memories of stockings and a festive meal. Unfortunately, none of my children like nuts. So, the Christmas stollen I grew up with was out, unless I wanted to eat it all myself.
Luckily, an Italian friend introduced us to a luscious panettone, which he used to order specially from Italy and gift us every year. The panettone was a good start. But, Christmas calls for bacon (or ham), eggs, and the works. So, I had to come up with a substantial, make-ahead main dish.
I’ve tried a variety of breakfast strata and casseroles over the years, many of which were sadly disappointing. So, I decided to come up with something unique with a little South African flavour to jazz it up.
Thus, I added a hit of my South African Style Curry Powder to my recipe. You could easily use store bought curry powder if you have one you prefer or are short on time.
If you object to curry powder, you could also substitute a couple of tablespoons of Dijon mustard to season the eggs instead. However, I think the curry adds a pretty colour and a burst of flavour that really perks up the dish.
Tips for Success
This recipe is super easy to make. However, after a few experiments, I believe success depends on three things:
- Ham: The ham you choose will have a huge impact on the flavour profile of your final casserole. If you have leftover ham in your fridge, that would probably be the very best choice. Otherwise, look for thick sliced ham with a robust flavour. The butcher is usually happy to let you taste the various hams on offer. Find one that is rich and smokey.
- Bread: Any crusty country style bread is good. In my experience, standard supermarket breads are far too soft and yield a very custardy casserole without a lot of bite. If you have dental problems, go for the standard supermarket bread. Otherwise, it’s worth the investment to get a good, crusty loaf with a little bite to it.
- Eggs: Be sure to thoroughly whisk the egg mixture to avoid any lumps. You want the eggs to be slightly aerated and for all the lumps of spices, yolk, and yoghurt to be thoroughly incorporated and smooth.
If you follow these simple tips, your family will start the holiday with a rich, satisfying and flavourful breakfast strata. Bon appétit!