A Christmas Morning Strata to Share
There are some recipes my sister does not share with me (see the March 2014 Back Porch Recipe Wars). Actually, just one and she is going to kill me for writing about it once again, because we barely escaped the first time except that she just decided not to read about it. And the fact that we’ve never mentioned it again.
But here I go because I just can’t help myself. I promise I am not goading my sister with this – at least I’m not trying to. I just find the whole thing hilarious. I really, really don’t want the secret recipe and I really, really am not mad or holding a grudge and I’m not being a martyr. Really. It’s just one of those way too many things that for some reason tickles me way too much for my own good. Please don’t be mad.
But this recipe she shared. It’s what she serves for Christmas morning brunch every year, usually after her whole crew comes home from church very hungry. My whole crew gets so excited about her Christmas morning strata that they talk about it all year long. No kidding. It’s really the perfect brunch-for-a-crowd thing to make, because you put it all together the day before, and then pop it in the oven an hour before sitting down to the table. And it’s so, so good. Lots of chèvre and herbs and artichoke hearts and ham. Healthy, this strata is not. Buy hey, it’s the holidays!
I hope your crew enjoys this Christmas strata as much as ours does. I’m also hoping my sister doesn’t read this.
Christmas Morning Strata
Adapted from Bon Appetit, 1997
2 cups whole milk
¼ cup olive oil
8 cups 1-inch cubes sourdough bread
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon dry mustard
12 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1-1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
12 ounces smoked ham, cubed (I cube Niman Ranch ham that has been sliced about ¼-inch thick)
1-1/2 12-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and halved lengthwise
1 cup grated fontina
1 cup grated parmesan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9” x 13” baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk milk and oil together in a large bowl. Stir in bread, and let it sit to absorb the liquid, about 10 minutes.
Whisk the cream, eggs, garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg and dry mustard in another large bowl. Add the goat cheese, sage, thyme and herbes de Provence.
Layer the ingredients in the baking dish: half of the bread, half of the ham, half of the artichoke hearts, half of the fontina and parmesan. Pour half of the cream-goat cheese mixture over. Repeat the layering with the remaining bread, ham, artichoke hearts, cheeses and cream-goat cheese mixture. At this point, you can cover the pan and refrigerate for a day. Or, bake the strata uncovered until browned, about 1 hour.
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