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Breakfast Casserole/Strata with meat and cheese
(recipe, Katie Hickey)
This recipe can easily be doubled and cooked in a 9x13 pan. Great for a brunch party.
- 4 cups (loosely packed) day-old challah bread, cut into ¾-inch cubes
- olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. sugar
- ½ lb. pancetta or bacon or ham or sausage (thickly sliced), diced
- 6 eggs
- 1½ cups whole milk
- ½ tsp. dry mustard
- ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (leave out if going for a different flavor combo)
- 1 cup grated gruyere or cheddar or pepper jack cheese (about 4 ounces
- Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and throw in the cubed challah.
- Heat enough olive oil in a skillet over medium to low heat. Add the onions, salt, and sugar. Sauté until they are lightly caramelized (a medium golden brown color), about 15 minutes.
- In another heavy saucepan, heat some more olive oil (no olive oil needed if you're using bacon or sausage) over medium heat and sauté the pancetta or other meat until the fat is almost all rendered and it begins to get crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set on a paper towel to drain.
- Whisk together the eggs, milk, dry mustard, nutmeg, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle pancetta over the bread cubes, then layer onions on top. Sprinkle grated Gruyère on next, and then pour the egg mixture over the entire thing.
- Press down on the top gently, so that all of the bread cubes get soaked a bit with the egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (take the casserole out of the fridge while the oven is preheating). Bake, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges are bubbling and the top begins to brown.