Millie recently requested that I make strata. I got this recipe from Carol many years ago. Yes, the same Carol that taught me how to make her wonderful Rustic White Bread and Swedish Rye. If you don’t remember, Carol is magic in the kitchen. And really, I just love her so much. We visited her not too long ago, socially distanced in her back yard. She was standing at her back door on her porch, and she looked so beautiful that I had to take a picture of her.
Every year we spend Easter with Carol and her husband Mick (Mick is the pastor of our church), and lots of other friends. There is a big Easter egg hunt in the back yard, and all the kids go nuts.
One year Carol made something delicious in a large casserole dish. Kind of like a cheesy savory bread pudding with a crispy exterior. I asked if I could get the recipe. She called it an “Easter Quiche”. It’s also called a strata – layered bread, cheese, sausage, veggies… whatever ingredients you want, in an egg custard. You assemble it, and then it rests in the fridge overnight*, and then you can bake it in the morning with no fuss. It’s great for holidays, or if you have overnight guests, and you don’t want to get up and have to cook right away. Just grab a cup of coffee and preheat your oven. We have it every year on Christmas morning, which is perfect. And sometimes, because we have leftover bread (surprised?), or because I get a special request, we have strata on an ordinary day. And we might just have it for dinner. It’s delicious no matter what the occasion.
- 1 pound pork sausage
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 pound shredded cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)
- 6 slices day old bread, cubed
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the sausage in a skillet, breaking it up so that it is crumbled. Drain if necessary, and sprinkle the dry mustard over top and stir in. Set aside.
- Butter an 8″ x 8″ casserole dish or brownie pan. Layer the bottom with bread cubes, then half the sausage, then half the cheese. Repeat with another layer of bread cubes, sausage and cheese.
- Whisk the eggs and milk together and add in the Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste. I only use 1/4 teaspoon of salt because the sourdough is so flavorful already. Pour the egg mixture over the layers of bread/sausage/cheese, and then moosh it all down with your hands to that all the bread cubes become saturated. The word “moosh” is written in Carol’s original recipe.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge overnight.
- The next morning, remove strata from refrigerator and let sit on your kitchen counter one hour before baking.
- About 15 minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° and place rack in center of oven. Remove plastic wrap from strata, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes covered, then remove foil and bake for another 40 minutes uncovered, or until golden, puffy, and set in the center. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving with fresh fruit or green salad. Enjoy!
*I have left the strata to rest in the fridge for 24 hours and it has been fine, if not even better, and I have heard that it’s okay to leave it to rest in the fridge for up to two nights, although I haven’t tried it.