I love lazy weekend fall mornings when I can whip up something warm and yummy for hubby and I for brunch while watching a football game. I don’t love all the dishes when I want to relax after filling my belly. This strata is made the night before in a large Ziploc bag and then simply placed in a pan and baked; easy and virtually no mess! A side of hashbrowns and fresh fruit rounds out the meal nicely.
Our local Grocery Outlet carries all of the ingredients regularly at about half the cost of other stores. The Lit’l Smokies come in a 28 oz package and can be divided and half frozen for other dishes (they are great in a rustic vegetable soup!). I used about half of the pack for this recipe. Any form of bread works, but I especially love the San Luis Sliced Garlic Sourdough. The garlic is already roasted and the crust has a nice texture. I used half of the loaf for grilled cheese and toast 5 days prior, which allowed the other half to become slightly stale, preferable for the strata.
Variations: You can switch up the type of cheese and herbs for different flavors. I prefer fresh herbs whenever possible, but if using dried reduce the amount to about a third of fresh. I added a few drops of Dave’s Insanity Sauce for a little zip; you could add other hot sauces mixed in when you add the half and half, or as a condiment for folks to spice to their own liking.
Tip: Use a good quality Ziploc bag or you will end up with a mess! I double bag the mixture before placing in our fridge, just to be sure!
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coursely ground pepper
- Half a roughly chopped yellow onion
- 20 Lit’l Smokies by Hillshire Farms, cut into thirds
- 2 1/2 cups of shredded Gruyere cheese (reserve 1/2 cup for top)
- 6 large slices of stale French bread, cut into 1 inch pieces
- Optional: Sour cream dollops, hot sauce and chives/thyme for garnish
- Crack the eggs into a clean gallon size Ziploc bag.
- Add the half and half and mustard, seal the bag and mix by squishing the ingredients in the bag until well combined.
- Open the bag, add the thyme, salt, pepper and onions and squish again.
- Add the Lit’l Smokies and 2 cups of the cheese and squish again.
- Add the bread in batches, mixing until all pieces are fully covered in the egg mixture.
- Zip the bag securely closed, pushing out the air so it has a vacuum-packed feel. (You don’t have to get all the air out; just enough so the mixture isn’t sloshing around in the bag.)
- Place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Pull the bag out of the fridge 30 minutes before you put it in the oven to bring to room temperature. Pour the ingredients into a 8 inch square glass baking pan, generously greased with butter.
- Bake at 325 degrees F for 15 minutes, then sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top.
- Increase temperature to 375 and bake an additional 20 minutes until strata is puffed, edges are pulling away from pan sides slightly, and cheese is browned. A knife inserted in the center should come out clean when done.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.
- Serve with optional sour cream, hot sauce and fresh thyme or chives as garnish.
Serves 4 to 6 people.
Go To Tuesdays are weekly recipes from products purchased at the Alameda Grocery Outlet, 730 Buena Vista Ave.
Please let me know if you made the recipe and liked it or would suggest changes. And also feel free to suggest future recipes.