Hearty, Make Ahead Christmas Breakfast Strata

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.

Hearty, Make Ahead Christmas Breakfast Strata | cookglobaleatlocal.com
Hearty, Make Ahead Christmas Breakfast Strata

Tips for Success

This recipe is super easy to make.  However, after a few experiments, I believe success depends on three things:

Hearty, Make Ahead Christmas Breakfast Strata | cookglobaleatlocal.com

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!


Hearty, Make Ahead Christmas Breakfast Strata

Hearty, Make Ahead Christmas Breakfast Strata | cookglobaleatlocal.com
Jeanette Marie
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Prep Time:  15 minutes - Cook Time:  50 minutes Servings:  8

This delicious breakfast strata will have your family and friends clamouring for more. Best of all? It comes together in about 15 minutes the night before and can be cooked in a cold oven in the morning. Perfect for entertaining or for busy holidays.

  • 1 loaf rustic country bread, cut into 3 cm slices
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
  • 500 g (1 lb 4 oz) baby spinach, washed and roughly chopped
  • 250 g (10 oz) emmental cheese, grated
  • 250 g (10 oz) thick-sliced, smoked, baked ham
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon South African Style Curry Powder or store bought curry powder of your choice

  1. Preheat the oven to 200° C. Place the bread slices on a wire rack and leave to toast for about 10 minutes or until nicely browned and crisp.;Meanwhile, melt the butter in a casserole set over medium high heat. When butter is hot, add scallions and cook, stirring regularly, until just beginning to colour. Add spinach to the casserole and stir into the onions. Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until wilted and any water has evaporated. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, butter a lasagna dish. Line the bottom of the dish with toasted bread, cutting up any extra pieces and inserting the cubes in any "holes". The aim is to really cover the bottom of the lasagna dish with the bread.
  3. Top the bread with a layer of ham, distributing the slices evenly. Add the spinach and green onion mixture and spread evenly over the ham. Top with an even layer of the grated cheese.
  4. Then, place eggs, milk, yoghurt, salt and curry powder in a medium glass bowl. Whisk to thoroughly combine and pour over the casserole in the lasagna dish. Cover tightly with plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  5. When ready to cook, set the oven to 175° C. Uncover the lasagna dish and place it in the cold oven. Cook for 50 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown on top. Allow to rest and set for 5-10 minutes before serving.


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