Strata is the perfect food for a cozy Sunday morning breakfast or brunch for family or friends. I make the dish the night before and put it in the fridge overnight. The preparation process should take no more than 15-20 minutes. It is best served right out of the oven. Leftovers will taste fine but will be less light and fluffy and will look deflated.
Green Chili Srata (8 servings)
- 12-14 slices Brioche or Challah cut into 1-inch cubes (it took 1 ½ loaves of bread to cut this many slices)
- 14 eggs
- 3 cups of milk (I use 1% organic milk – whole milk will make it much more lush, and of course, more caloric)
- One 4-oz can Hatch (or other mild) green chilies
- 5-ounces grated Swiss cheese
- 5-ounces grated Gruyere cheese
- One 12-oz jar salsa verde
- 1 packed cup fresh cilantro
- 1 pint fresh pico de gallo salsa
You could easily cut this recipe in half and put it in a 9×9 pan instead. I leave the crusts on the bread because I hate throwing them out. The Strata will be a bit more elegant without the crusts. If you compost, or have birds to feed, I’ll allow you to cut the crusts off – but if you’re just going to throw them in the garbage I will have to look away.
Lightly butter a 9×14-inch deep baking dish (you could also spray it with vegetable spray if you wish). A lasagna pan is the perfect choice.
Spread half of the bread cubes evenly in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the Hatch chilies and a ½ cup of the salsa verde over the bread. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the bread cubes. Sprinkle the remaining bread cubes into the pan. Top with the second half of the grated cheese.
In a mixing bowl beat the eggs. Add the milk. Mix well. Pour the egg/milk mixture over the bread cubes. Press the cubes gently down into the liquid. Don’t SMASH them. You’re just trying to encourage them to soak up the yummy liquid, not beat them into submission. Place the pan in the fridge for a minimum of two hours, or overnight.
Place the remaining salsa verde in a blender. Add the one cup packed cilantro. Process until smooth. Remove and refrigerate until meal time.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the pan from the fridge 15-20 minutes before you are going to put it in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 70-90 minutes until the strata is puffed and the eggs are solid (not runny). If the top starts to get too brown before it is done, lay a piece of tin foil loosely over the top of the pan. This will allow the strata to continue to cook but will keep the top from drying out too much.
Serve the strata with the cilantro sauce and the pico de gallo salsa.