{recipe} Cheesy Bacon Breakfast Strata

Strata is a breakfast casserole, and it has become my go-to Sunday breakfast or brunch recipe for a crowd: it’s easy, customizable, and you make it the night before so there is no work to do in the morning except turning on the oven. I especially recommend it for the “morning after” if you have a late night or booze-soaked event planned, since you can prep the strata on a Saturday afternoon, revel and party as late as you want on Saturday night, and wake up to a fabulous ready-made breakfast on Sunday morning.

Cheesy Bacon Breakfast Strata

The basic strata recipe is to cube some bread, add cheese, vegetables, and/or meat, and pour over beaten eggs, milk, and seasonings. After an overnight soak, the strata bakes up fluffy and golden brown and you get a fabulous breakfast in just one pan.

There are a million things to put in it, depending on what you like, and in this case I used crispy bacon, gruyere and parmesan cheeses, a little sautéed onion, and some frozen spinach. But feel free to experiment with the type of bread and the add-ins, because it’s very forgiving and always turns out well.

RECIPE: Cheesy Bacon Breakfast Strata
serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 10 oz. frozen spinach, squeezed of excess water and chopped
  • 1 loaf ciabatta, cut in 1 to 2 inch chunks
  • 2 cups grated gruyere
  • 2 cups grated parmesan
  • 9 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 Tblsp yellow mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

  • Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook in a large sauté pan until crisp and brown. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
  • Remove the bacon grease so about 1 Tblsp remains (but save the removed grease for greasing the pan.) Turn heat to medium and add onions. Cook, stirring, until soft and translucent. Add spinach and cook for a few minutes, to distribute and soften. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Prepare a deep 9×13 pan or similarly sized casserole dish by greasing it with the reserved bacon grease. Spread half of the bread chunks in the pan. Sprinkle over half of the bacon and half of the spinach and onion mixture. Then cover with half of the gruyere and half of the parmesan.
  • Repeat with remaining bread, bacon, spinach, and cheese.
  • In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and mustard. Season with 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. Pour over pan. Use your clean hands or the back of a large spoon to compress the casserole a bit. Cover the pan and place in the fridge overnight, up to 24 hours.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and remove the strata from the fridge. When oven is heated, uncover the strata and bake 50-60 minutes, until strata is a little puffy and golden brown, and eggs are cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.
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