Brunch at my house likely means strata. It’s easy to prepare and can be (but doesn’t have to be) made a day or two ahead. Strata also has another selling point. Kids generally love it — after all, it’s just cheese and milk and bread — making it ideal for intergenerational gatherings.
I’ve got a foolproof formula that’s easy to internalize–a dozen eggs, a quart of half-and-half, three cups of your favorite sharp cheese, salt and a few grinds of pepper. There’s bread too. Depending on the style strata, you’ve got options. For a smooth souffle-like texture, use fluffy white bread. For a dense, hearty texture, use a good baguette. (I’m going for dense substantial this year, but if you’re looking for the other style, click here.)
Of course, you can add ham or sausage, but I prefer to keep mine plain cheese or veggie, which means it works for everyone. This time of year I’ve chosen roasted red peppers and canned green chiles. Not only do they offer great seasonal color, they don’t need to be sautéed. Just dice and you’re done.
Another holiday strategy — bake a festive spiral-cut ham to round out the meal. Leftovers are great for sandwiches, hors d’oeuvres and snacks throughout the holiday. And don’t forget to save the bone for bean, lentil, or split pea soup!
- 1 quart half and half
- 1 dozen eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt and several freshly ground black peppers
- 1 good baguette (scant 1 pound) cut into ½ inch thick slice
- ½ cup diced roasted red pepper from a jar
- ½ cup diced green chiles from 4.5-ounce can
- 12 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated (about 3 cups)
- ½ cup thin-sliced scallions (about 3 medium)
- Whisk half and half, eggs, salt and pepper to taste until smooth.
- Spray a 13-by 9-inch Pyrex or ceramic baking dish with vegetable cooking
- spray. Line pan bottom with half the bread slices. Scatter half the peppers over the bread, then sprinkle with half the cheese and scallions. Pour a couple of cups of the egg mixture over the topped bread. Make another layer with remaining bread, peppers, cheese and scallions. Slowly pour remaining egg mixture over bread. Press on bread to make sure it absorbs milk mixture. Let sit for about 15 minutes before baking. (Can be covered and refrigerated up to 2 days.)
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Bake until custard is just set, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Without adjusting oven rack, turn on broiler; broil until strata is spotty brown and puffy, about 5 minutes longer.
- Remove from oven, let stand for 8 to 10 minutes, and then serve.
Becky at Vintage Mixer says
I’ve actually never made strata… fritatta is my go-to brunch food. I may need to make a switch this year. Thanks for the idea. Merry Christmas to you and your family!
Cynthia Gaddis says
This one just might make me switch from our traditional breakfast casserole. Thanks 3MC’s
We do a strata every year for New Year’s. I love this slightly spicy southwestern take.
Jeff @ Cheese-Burger.net says
This strata recipes looks so delicious. I think I’m gonna try it out with ham and fluffy white bread.
My stomach is growling. 🙂 This is going on my Christmas brunch menu.
Gorgeous strata! We had one at Christmas a couple years ago, and I’ve been wanting to have it again. Perhaps I’ll have to take the lead on that this year, and use your recipe. 🙂
Emily ~SoDomesticated~ says
Looks delicious! Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!
We do a strata for Christmas Brunch every year. This one looks delish!
K Davis says
This was the inspiration I needed for New Years Day.. thank you! Truly enjoy your webiste each and every time I visit. Thanks for all the terrific recipes.
Made this for Christmas Eve brunch this year… It was fabulous and was the hit of the menu!
Can this be refrigerated overnight and cooked in the morning?
Betty Anderson says
I want to serve it for Easter Brunch, can it be made Friday, baked Saturday, and reheated Sunday noon?
Pam Anderson says
I believe I responded to you directly, Erin, but for the rest of you… you can prep and assemble the strata ahead, just don’t bake it.
Sorry just read the above passage!!! Planning on putting this together tomorrow night and baking on Christmas morning :))
Pam Anderson says
It’ll work. If you’ve got time, just make sure to set the strata out before baking it. If not, it might take a little more time. Take care and Merry Christmas!