Food & Drink

Brie and Mushroom Strata

It doesn’t take much, I’ve discovered, to make a memorable breakfast casserole. But it does require a small investment in a few quality ingredients – like good bread and excellent cheese – and perhaps a willingness to overlook an obscene amount of eggs and cream.

I’ve experimented over the years with cheddar, Gouda, Parmesan and gruyere, but I must say that brie has yielded the best recipe yet. A generous handful is sprinkled throughout this recipe, and when melted, it creates a rich and gooey “sauce” for sautéed mushrooms and custard-soaked bread.

I am forever enamored and obsessed with the idea of breakfast casseroles. Their very existence represents happy times, bustling kitchens and fond memories shared around the table. Of course, their ease of preparation and ability to be made in advance are what make them so popular for entertaining, but I am more interested in exploring their infinite flavor combinations in my quest for brunch nirvana.

While this is perfect for a crowd, I found it ideal for my family of two. We first enjoyed it warm from the oven, a hearty way to start our morning. We nibbled on it in the afternoon. We were headed to the mountains the following day, so I warmed the leftovers before we hit the road and packed them to enjoy in the car. It was a heck of a lot better than fast food.

Call it what you will – breakfast casserole, strata or savory bread pudding. This perfect pairing will be a family favorite from here on out.

Nealey Dozier is a writer for, a website for

home cooking.