Tray of strata (click to enlarge)
Serving of strata (click to enlarge)
The best thing about stratas is that they are an awesome vehicle for leftovers. In this case I had left over bagels that we weren’t going to eat, some cheese, some leftover bacon, and a generous gift of leeks and kale from Chica’s farm share! It made for a yummy breakfast or brunch meal. Make sure you let it set after baking, don’t serve hot for the best flavor.
6-8 slices of bacon (these were pretty thin slices)
2 tbsp butter
3 leeks (sliced thinly and washed)
1 bunch kale (stripped, chopped and washed)
8 eggs (large)
2 cups 1% milk (any milk will do, that’s what we had)
1.5 cups shredded cheese (I used edam because it was open but gruyere or cheddar work well too)
2.5 large bagels, cut into 1 inch cubes (Staten Island bagels are REALLY large)
2 tbsp grated pecorino romano (to sprinkle on top just before baking)
salt, pepper as needed
Preheat oven to 375 F.
After leeks are washed and left to dry a bit, chop bacon and cook it in a dutch oven. Remove bacon and place it on paper towel to dry; leave grease in the pan, add 2 tbsp butter and melt. Add leeks, season, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add cleaned chopped kale, season, and cook until the kale breaks down, another 10 minutes.
While vegetables are sautéing, beat eggs in large bowl, add milk, shredded cheese and bacon, salt and pepper to taste, and stir all together. Throw bagel cubes into mixture and let sit to absorb.
When veggies are cooked (and kale has broken down and is more tender) take pan off heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Then stir veggies into bread/milk mixture in bowl. Grease a 9 x 12″ baking pan and add mixture. Top with pecorino romano cheese.
Bake for 60 minutes. Check at 50 minutes and every 5 minutes thereafter until top is golden brown and center doesn’t have much liquid well up when you separate it in the center (some can well up, just as long as the strata doesn’t seem soppy).
It really tastes much better after it cools for a while and the flavors blend especially left over hours later or the next day.
The rainbow chard was ready for harvest today and we had 1/3 of a long loaf of day-old italian bread but not much else in the house. It’s tough coming up with dishes in which to hide chard from Chris. He’s not a big fan of it even though it is mild and tasty and healthier than spinach.
Today’s harvest for the strata… I love rainbow chard’s colors!
Ready to harvest… the vegtrug is filled to bursting! The arugula has gotten very peppery and has started to bolt, but it has pretty flowers!
What better way to appeal to Chris’ appetite than a bread pudding? Even better, something with cheese and a custardy texture? Strata to the rescue!
I found a number of chard strata recipes online (Martha Stewart, NY Times, Williams-Sonoma), but I settled on this one because it had fewer ingredients and better matched what I had in the house (the others called for sausage or mushrooms as well). Of course I still made a number of changes to the original. It came out great and would have been even better had Chris not been so famished… we ate it before it had time to get to room temp but it was still delicious (and heavy). I served it with a chickpea, tomato, and cucumber salad (nice and light).
Here is my recipe:
- 2 bunches chard, chopped, separate thicker stems from the rest
- 1/3 long loaf italian bread or baguette, cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 clove garlic, grated
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra to butter casserole dish
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded or diced (gruyere would probably be delicious, we only had cheddar in the house)
- 1 cup milk (I used 1% because that’s what we had)
- 6 large eggs
- kosher salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 F and butter a 9×9 casserole dish.
- In 1 tbsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil saute onions and chard stems until soft and translucent, season with salt and pepper
- Add garlic and bread and saute for a minute or two, season a little more
- Put bread mixture in casserole dish
- Add another tbsp butter to pan and saute chard leaves until wilted and soft
- Add 3/4 of cheese to casserole and add chard. Mix all together.
- Top with remaining cheese and egg/milk mixture
- Bake for 40 minutes until golden on top
- Allow to cool before serving (slightly warm is fine but allow time for it to set and flavors to blend, room temp better)
I’ll update this post tomorrow to let you know how it is leftover. Photos of the process below.