Gruyere cornbread strata is a hearty, make-ahead recipe filled with bold flavors. With nearly all of the prep done the day before, this overnight breakfast, brunch, or anytime bake is the perfect dish to serve while entertaining guests.
Something I love about the holidays is hearing about the traditions everyone partakes in, especially when it comes to food. For instance I associate jelly stick donuts with Thanksgiving morning, as growing up we’d get a super early start on the day to beat traffic and eat them at my grandma’s house while watching the parade. Traffic problems definitely played a key role in all our holidays in the NYC metro area. 😂
The rest of our Thanksgiving meal was fairly traditional, with stuffing being my all-time favorite thing to eat on the table, which is saying a lot given how delish the other options were. Now that we’ve all moved around, our crowd is much smaller (sometimes just us two!) and there’s no way we’d we able to finish the quintessential Thanksgiving spread by ourselves.
Instead of missing out on some favorite flavors this holiday season, I made this Gruyere Cornbread Strata which really can act as the jack of all trades. Stratas are known for being a breakfast or brunch dish, but they can absolutely work as a side dish for a crowd. Especially with the stuffing-esque flavors going on here (who can say no to those?!)
We devoured our pre-Thanksgiving test batch of strata – anyone else test out recipes before the big day? – and loved it so much it’s back on the menu for our Thanksgiving festivities. Win!
Since life always seems to get hectic this time of year, efficiency with errands is key. I stopped by The Fresh Market to grab what I needed for this Gruyere Cornbread Strata for a few different reasons, one being they’re a specialty grocer that’s known for their curated product selection with exceptional quality and the finest ingredients. That means there’s no rooting around the shelves to find something acceptable to bring home – a major time-suck. From The Fresh Market’s high-quality meat and seafood and seasonal produce to their signature baked goods and carefully-selected organics, you’re sure to find the foods you love waiting for you there.
Plus did I mention the warm and inviting atmosphere? My store always plays the most relaxing classical music (definitely appreciated with all the holiday craziness) and the employees are super friendly. Going to The Fresh Market makes grocery shopping a treat.
This Thanksgiving, The Fresh Market is offering both traditional holiday fare as well as simplified, time-saving solutions for this favorite holiday meal. In making this Gruyere Cornbread Strata, I picked up several items from The Fresh Market Thanksgiving guide to bring the flavor as well as a shortcut or two along the way.
First let’s talk about the shortcut – The Fresh Market’s stuffing starter. This pre-prepped mix of onion, celery, parsley, and sage is responsible for the cozy flavors and conveniently packages in just what you’ll need into one container.
I’m not a super whiz when it comes to knife cuts (I’m always in awe watching chefs work their magic!) so anything that can alleviate some of the time I typically need to slowly work through an onion or a pile of herbs hoping to get equally-sized pieces is a worthy purchase in my opinion. This pack makes it easy to grab what you need and go.
Then comes The Fresh Market turkey stock. One of my favorite tricks when it comes to strata-making is to substitute broth or stock in for a good portion of the eggs, and this turkey stock does not disappoint. It balances out the other ingredients so well without overwhelming them, and of course adds to the Thanksgiving flavor. 🙂
I’m hard-pressed to shop at The Fresh Market without browsing the cheese department, so what better place to pick up Gruyere for this cornbread strata. It has a distinguishable flavor that comes from its aging process and is wonderful to both snack on as part of a cheese plate (highly recommend!) or melt in a savory bake like this.
Now I realize I’m calling this a cornbread strata, but the bread base is comprised of about half baguette cubes and half cornbread. Reason being is that baguettes, especially day-old baguettes, are less delicate than other bread varieties and hold their shape very well in strata, French toast bakes, etc. Cornbread is more tender but brings an unmistakably delicious flavor when mixed into this strata. Use your preferred cornbread recipe, either from scratch or from a boxed mix, but I suggest making it a day or two before prepping this strata to allow it to become a little firmer and stale.
And that brings up an important point – prep time. I love serving strata for holidays and when entertaining because nearly all of the prep is done the day before. Anything that frees up time on the day of is valuable, right? Once everything is combined, let the cornbread strata mixture sit overnight in the refrigerator. This allows the bread to really soak up the liquid so there’s no worry of it becoming too goopy once it’s cooked.
- Don’t worry too much about the cornbread crumbling when you mix everything together. The cornbread flavor will still shine through even if broken into smaller bits.
- I used a 1:1 combination of baguettes and cornbread, but feel free to increase one or the other in line with your preferences.
- Build in prep time for this recipe: ideally the baguettes and cornbread will be 1-2 days old before assembling, and then allow the cornbread strata to sit overnight in the refrigerator before baking.
- Don’t skip covering the strata with aluminum foil for part of the bake time. This helps prevent the top from becoming too crispy in the time it takes for the center to fully cook.
You can use The Fresh Market store locator to find your local store and stock up on high-quality ingredients to pull off a foolproof feast.
- 8 oz cornbread, about half of an 8"x8" pan, cut into 1" cubes
- 1 half pound baguette (8 oz), cut into 1" cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh sage
- 3 tbsp fresh Italian parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 8 oz Gruyere, roughly shredded
- 32 oz (4 cups) The Fresh Market turkey stock
- 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
- 2 eggs
- Cube cornbread and the baguette and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat, then add the onion and celery.
- Saute for 7-8 minutes, or until the onions have become golden and the celery has softened some.
- Transfer onion and celery to a large mixing bowl. Add the sage, parsley, salt, pepper, and Gruyere to the bowl with the onion/celery and mix well to combine.
- Add the cubed cornbread and baguette to the bowl with everything and gently toss to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together The Fresh Market turkey stock, milk, and eggs. Pour into the bowl with the bread and gently combine together.
- Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
- When ready to bake, grease a large baking dish with cooking spray (mine is 16" x 10") and heat oven to 350°F. Pour out mixture into the prepared dish and lightly press down.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, the strata is pretty much set, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let strata sit for 10 minutes, then serve warm.
Prep time does not take into account the inactive time the strata sits overnight in the fridge.
Use the biggest mixing bowl you have to combine all of these strata ingredients -- it'll be pretty full!
Base strata recipe adapted from Food & Wine
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.