The start of spring in Minnesota can only mean one thing. Okay, two. For one, we can cross our fingers and hope the nicer weather is here to stay! I suppose we shouldn’t hold our breath, though, considering we had snow last week. Secondly, I consider spring brunch season. There’s Easter brunch, of course, and then it seems that a bulk of wedding and baby showers are in the spring, most of which inevitably involve brunch.
So with brunch season upon us, I think we all need a new solid egg bake recipe to get us through. I’m a huge fan of stratas, which are made of chunks of bread (a perfect use for stale bread!), eggs, and milk. Topped with a big handful of shredded cheese and you’re on your way to a pretty tasty brunch.
The great thing about stratas, like many egg dishes, is they are very adaptable to preferences of meat, veggies, and cheese. I recently made a vegetarian Mushroom, Spinach, and Havarti Strata which proves that a tasty strata does not need to have meat.
Howevvvvver, I have to say the bacon in this strata is pretty dang delicious. It also allows for this recipe to be really simple and have a super short ingredient list, all the while, being full of flavor. We can thank the bacon and leeks for that.
I used Gruyere cheese in this strata because that’s what I had on hand, and you can do the same! Use whatever leftover bag or block of cheese you have laying around. I think cheddar, havarti, fontina, or even feta and goat cheese if you’re feeling like a tangier cheese.
Another great reason to make a strata is to use up a loaf of stale bread. I used a hearty whole grain loaf that I had sitting around for a few days, and while I loved the little seeds and chewy crust bits in every few bites, any sort of french or sandwich bread would work well, too.
So whether you’re hosting Easter brunch, need a dish to bring to a baby shower brunch, or just have a leftover stale loaf of bread begging to be used, give this strata a a shot. It is nothing short of amazing.
Like this dish? Then you’ll love these, too:
Bacon and Broccoli Strata
Artichoke Mushroom and Goat Cheese Strata
- 10 slices bacon
- 3 leeks white and light green parts only, sliced and rinsed well
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 loaf or about 5-6 cups french or whole grain bread, cubed
- 6 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Havarti or Gruyere cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease 9x13" baking dish.
- Cut bacon into bite-sized pieces.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon.
- Once cooked, remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same skillet wipe out most of the excess bacon grease, and add olive oil over medium heat.
- Add leeks, season with salt, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
- Combine cooked bacon, leeks, and bread, tossing to combine.
- Place in baking dish.
- Whisk together eggs, milk, and salt. Pour over bread mixture.
- Top with cheese. At this point you can either bake it immediately, or refrigerate 2 hours or up to overnight.
- Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes. If you refrigerated it overnight, you will likely need to add 10 minutes to the baking time. If the cheese starts to get too brown, cover with aluminum foil.
- Serve and enjoy!