Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cheddar Apple Bacon Strata

I should not grocery shop when hungry as I end up impulsively buying pork belly, cheap chicken to stock up on, and ingredients for this strata that popped into my head. Luckily, it turned out even better than expected. I had been mulling over what to do with the leftover apples and couldn't pass up some aged cheddar cheese or a beautiful looking loaf of pumpernickel. Bacon seemed an obvious addition to any apple dish. Fortunately, while browsing online, I found a recipe that looked exactly like what I had in mind ... with a few modifications. I added some sage as we have an abundance and apple and sage just seem to go together. It also seemed to make more sense to me to cook the apples in bacon fat rather than butter. I substituted buttermilk for regular milk just because and the end result was delicious, if a bit different. The recipe below is also scaled in half from the original as I didn't want too much leftover strata. One final word of warning, strata is best if you allow it to soak overnight, so if you can, plan ahead.

One year ago: Tomato, Semolina, and Coriander Soup

Cheddar Apple Bacon Strata (adapted from Group Recipes)

2 medium apples peeled and coarsely chopped
1.5 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 cups cubed pumpernickel bread
225g bacon
1 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
a few leaves of fresh sage, shredded
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs

1. Grease a casserole dish and set aside.
2. Cook bacon, set aside, reserve grease.
3. Cook apples in bacon grease 3 minutes stirring occasionally until crisp tender.
4. Stir in brown sugar then reduce heat to low and cook 6 minutes stirring occasionally.
5. Layer half each of the bread, bacon, apples, sage and cheese in casserole.
6. Repeat with remaining bread, bacon, apples, sage and cheese.
7. Mix remaining ingredients then pour over cheese.
8. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
9. Heat oven to 350 then bake uncovered 45 minutes and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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