Recently, I was in charge of a Church breakfast. I chose to make this wonderful dish: a gloriously cheese-topped casserole with crisp oversized croutons over a creamy egg and tender ham filling. Well the result was spectacular and the requests for the recipe were many. I know why. It's always a great time to make this dish. First of all, it can be expanded to feed any number of people. You simply double or triple the portions and then haul out your Pyrex 9 x 13 instead of the souffle dish pictured here. The other great advantage is that you make this up the day before. So off I went to the Church kitchen late Saturday afternoon and put the whole thing together. The next morning, all that was required was to pop it in the oven and in a little over an hour you have something very special for your breakfast or brunch table. It’s very easy to put together. By the way, its' also a very good time to start to think of all the ways you can use Monte's Ham this season: We've got hams in stock and I'd love to put your name on one of them. Just click the link about this post and order one today. I like to serve this with a simply dressed green salad. Here is the recipe:
Recipe for Monte’s Ham and Cheese Strata
Serves 4-6 depending upon appetite.
2 cups of cooked Monte’s Ham, trimmed of its outside, glazed layer and cut into ½ inch dice
Ciabatta or other Crusty Country bread –about 4 cups -- cut into 1 inch dice
¾ lb. of Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Dubliner Cheese, grated
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups of Whole Milk
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 heaping tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1 pinch Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled briefly.
Spray a 2-quart souffle dish with non-stick spray.
Arrange a third of the bread cubes to cover the bottom of the dish and sprinkle them with 1/3 of the cheese.
Top the cheese with all the ham; top the ham with the remaining bread. Sprinkle the remaining cheese generously over the bread.
Press the layers together slightly.
In a bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, mustard, cayenne, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour the mixture evenly over the strata. Drizzle the melted butter over the top of the strata
Cover the soufflé dish and refrigerate overnight.
45 minutes before cooking, remove the strata from the refrigerator
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake the strata for 1 hour to 1 ½ hours until the top is golden brown and the filling is set. Serve.