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Brunch Strata

Brunch Strata
(Brunch Bread Pudding)
Serves 6-10
Similar to Winnifred Jardine’s Strata recipe, but much richer.
Strata is a dish that falls somewhere between a family size omelet and a crustless quiche.  It all starts with good bread.  There are many variations of strata, depending on the cheeses you use, the meat (ground ham, sausage (links or ground), and spices. 
Refrigerating overnight makes the strata more custard-like.

½ lb best quality Italian sausage, breakfast sausage OR turkey sausage
½ C minced onion
¼ C minced green pepper
1/3 C sliced green onions
1/3 C white cooking wine 
8 C 1-inch cubes day-old French bread—anything heavy & crusty
2 ½ C milk
½ C heavy cream, or milk
¼ C melted butter
8 large eggs
½ lb Pepper Jack cheese, grated
½ lb Monterey Jack cheese, grated
¾ C tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
½ C grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Cook sausage over med-high heat.  Cook until golden brown and fat is rendered, about 5 minutes.  Add onions and bell peppers and sauté until soft, 3 minutes.  Add green onions and stir well.  Add white wine and reduce slightly, stirring, about 1 minute over high heat.  Remove from heat.
  2. Place bread in large mixing bowl.  Combine milk and cream in pitcher, pour over bread and toss gently to coat bread cubes.  Let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour some of the melted mutter into a 9x13-inch casserole dish, and coat bottom evenly.  Pour any extra butter into the bread mixture.
  4. Add sausage to bread mixture and toss.  Add eggs, grated cheeses (except Parmesan), salt, black pepper, and cayenne, and quickly fold together.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
  5. 1 ½ hours before serving:
    1. Preheat oven to 325
    2. Leave aluminum foil on casserole.  Bake for 1 hour.
    3. Increase oven temperature to 375
    4. Uncover casserole and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 
    5. Bake for 15-20 minutes more.

*Gwen got this recipe from Tammy Aglaure, who got it from Emeril’s Potluck cookbook.


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