Strata with Sausage and Broccoli

Perhaps it has not escaped your notice that I seem to have a lot of eggs and cheese. It’s inevitable. I’m often on the road this time of year, but the CSA, with its dozen eggs, half pound of cheese, and two pounds of meat, arrives every week. My husband and I therefore eat a lot of yellow dinners. This is an attempt to get some color back into our diets.

I discovered the joys of strata through Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. They are a wonder of the kitchen: utterly flexible, and fairly forgiving. Better yet, a good strata uses stale bread! So long as you’re using some combination of eggs, milk, bread, and vegetables that go together, you’ll end up with something nice. Do tell us what you come up with, yes?

Strata with Sausage and Broccoli

half a loaf of stale bread (good bread makes a better strata)
4 eggs
2 c. milk (2% is fine; richer milk makes a richer strata)
1 lb. loose breakfast sausage
1 head broccoli, cut into large pieces
About 1/4 lb. cheddar, Swiss, or other mild cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste

1) Brown the sausage.

2) Blanche the broccoil (cook in boiling water only until it changes colors).

3) Cut the bread into enough thin slices to make three layers in a deep baking vessel (I use a 9x9x3 pan). Put the first layer on the bottom. Cover with 1/2 of the sausage, 1/2 of the broccoli, and 1/3 of the cheese. Add another layer of bread, then the other half of the sausage and broccoli and another third of the cheese. Add the third layer of bread, and top with the remaining cheese.

4) Beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture over the bread. Use a potato masher to push the bread beneath the level of the custard. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, then bake at 350ºF for about an hour, or until it’s golden and puffy.

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