Strata is savory bread pudding and I love it. What I like best is it can be made in advance. I made this beauty on a Saturday afternoon, covered it with foil and stashed it in the fridge. On Sunday evening, I let it sit on the side to get the chill off then popped it into the oven and dinner was served.
This recipe was adapted from the Sausage and Swiss Chard Strata recipe in the April 2011 issue of Everyday Food. I used a bit less milk, fewer eggs, less bread and doubled the greens. It turned out wonderful. You could could omit the meat and use some tender white beans if you wanted a vegetarian version. This recipe makes 6 generous servings and is excellent reheated for leftovers.
Sausage and Southern Greens Strata
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, meat removed from the casings
1 small onion, diced
2 pounds of chopped southern greens (I used a blend of collards, turnip, mustard and spinach)
2 cups of milk
4 whole eggs
1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 day-old baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices (I used about 2/3 of the loaf)
1 cup of shredded cheese (I used 4 cheese blend)
Pre-heat large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage meat until crumbled and cooked through. Remove to a bowl, reserve a little of the fat for cooking the greens and discard the rest. Saute the onion in the fat until soft then add the greens. You may have to add them in batches. Keep adding more as they cook down. Season with salt and pepper. Once all the greens are added to the pan, season with salt and pepper, put the lid on the pan and cook greens until they are tender.
Mix the cooked greens with the crumbled sausage and put it in a casserole dish (my dish is approx. 8x11.)
Arrange the bread slices on top. Make it pretty, Martha is watching.
Next, whisk together milk, eggs, mustard and cayenne pepper and pour mixture slowly over the top of the bread.
You can let it sit for 10 minutes and bake it straight away, or cover it and stash it in the fridge overnight. Bake, covered in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle the top with cheese and bake again...
until you achieve brown, bubbly deliciousness (about 10-15 minutes.)
Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.