Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sausage, Cheddar and Apple Strata

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Matt, however, is not a fan and doesn't care for most breakfast foods. Eggs? No thanks.

It is for this reason that I will often try new breakfast recipes on weekends. I want my Sunday breakfast to be slowly savored while sipping coffee. He wants it over with already.

I've been reading Eggs on Sunday for a couple of months now, and this is the first of Amy's recipes that I've tried. It was a great combination for a fall morning. I enjoyed the apples and sausage together but the bread was definitely the best part!

This makes a lot of food -- far too much for two people. I will cut it in half next time, but I found that it was even better left over, so I won't reduce the recipe too much!

Sausage, Cheddar and Apple Strata
Source: Feelgood Eats, guest post by Amy of Eggs on Sunday (adapted from Cooking with Shelburne Farms)
(Serves 6-8)
¾ pound (5 to 6 cups) cubed crusty bread, such as sourdough or multigrain
4 medium shallots, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)
1 pound Italian-style sausage, removed from casings if in links
4 eggs
1 quart (4 cups) half-and-half
½ teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 15 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.

Meanwhile, saute the sliced shallots in the olive oil in a skillet until translucent and starting to brown. Add the sausage to the skillet and cook until no longer pink, breaking up into pieces with a fork. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Whisk together the eggs and half-and-half in a bowl with the salt and a few grinds of black pepper, and set aside.

Lightly grease a 9×13 (or equivalent) baking dish. In the bottom of the baking dish, spread half of the sausage/shallot mixture, half of the cubed apples, and half of the cheddar cheese. Top with the toasted bread cubes. On top of the bread cubes, layer the remaining sausage/shallot mixture and the remaining cubed apples. Pour the half-and-half mixture over the dish, pressing the bread cubes down gently so they all get moistened. Top with the remaining grated cheddar.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown on top and set.

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