September 30, 2013
Vegetable Cheese Strata
A couple days ago I posted about beans and collard greens I cooked in my slow cooker, using the same broth for both.
Today I took those greens and the remains of a batch of popovers and made a strata. While the definition of "strata" means layers, most are made like bread pudding.
OK, OK, I know this is really just a frittata baked with croutons, but I reserve the right to call it a strata.
Not having a game plan formulated, I used my general rule.....use ingredients that add lots of flavor and always have a backup plan!!!
The popovers (recipe here) where made with chives and corn, so they had flavor baked in, all I needed to do was plan on the usual agents, onions, peppers and garlic, plus a cheese or two and the bake time. While most strata's are baked in a casserole pan, I baked mine in mini loaf pans. I keep forgetting I have them but they are perfect for portion control, so, two for dinner and two for lunch.
I remember watching Lidia make a bread lasagna and this was technically the same thing. Whatever I placed in the bottom would eventually be the top and that would be a layer of egg and vegetables, so I also made a Fontina Bechamela to spoon over after unmolding.
I could just imagine the face The Nudge made when he asked me what he was having for dinner. I was not going to tell him I was just as apprehensive. If I had a better idea and something else defrosted, that would be dinner, trust me. Lately my adventures in the kitchen have been less than stellar.
Surprise, surprise.....this couldn't have been anything but delicious and it did not disappoint!
Depending on how eggy, or bready you want your strata to be will depend on the wet to dry ratio.
If you are watching your carbs, go with more egg/milk and less bread. If you plan ahead and soak it overnight, the bread breaks down and the outcome is more like a pudding.
Either way it's done, it's delicious and another great way to use up leftovers. Plus, I like eating breakfast for dinner once in a while and I love using up leftovers.
Vegetable Cheese Strata
makes 4 cups mixture
* 6 eggs
* 1 cup milk, choice (I used buttermilk)
* 3 slices bacon or pancetta, diced
* 1/4 small red onion, chopped
* 2 small cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 frying pepper
* 1/2 cup cooked greens, chopped
* 1 ounce goat cheese
* Salt and pepper to taste
* 2 cups day-old bread or rolls, in chunks
* 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
* 8 basil leaves, chopped
* Four slices Swiss cheese
* 2 ounces grated Pepper Jack
* 1 tablespoon Parmesan, grated
* 1 tablespoon butter and flour
* 1/2 cup milk + more for thinning.
* 2 ounces Fontina, grated
Preheat oven to 350°.
1. Saute bacon, onion, peppers and garlic until the pork starts to brown.
2. Add greens and goat cheese to pan and stir to combine. Remove from heat to cool.
3. Beat eggs with milk and season with salt & pepper, thyme and basil.
4. Add cooked vegetables to the bread cubes and then stir in the egg/milk mixture.
5. Spray baking vessel with release agent. Spoon a 3rd of egg mixture into the bottom of the pan (or evenly into mini molds). Sprinkle 1/2 of the pepper jack cheese and top with another layer of egg mixture. Place a layer of the Swiss cheese next and then repeat with the last of the egg mixture, finally to with the last of the pepper jack cheese. Top that with the Parmesan and bake covered for 30 minutes for small molds or 1 hour for large pan. If a knife inserted comes out clean the strata is done.
6. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir to cook for 1-2 minutes.
7. Add the milk and cook till it thickens. Add the Fontina and stir to melt, adding more milk to get the consistency desired. The sauce should coat the back of a wooden spoon and easily drip (but not run) off .