Strata with Chard, Sausage and Caramelized Onions

Strata with Chard, Sausage and Caramelized Onions

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 120 minutes
  • Servings: 6 to 8

Breakfast stratas make life easy on the cook because they can be assembled the night before, then popped into the oven and baked the next day. The resting time in the refrigerator allows the bread to soak up the eggy custard so the dish will puff up almost like a soufflé. Our version of this savory casserole is loaded with earthy chard, sweet Italian sausage and caramelized onions, plus lots of cheesy goodness—just the thing for a cozy brunch during the winter holidays.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./80 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch chard, stemmed and chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 oz. (375 g) sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 12 eggs
  • 3 cups (24 fl. oz./750 ml) half-and-half
  • 2 cups (8 oz./250 g) shredded fontina cheese
  • 1 large or 2 small loaves sourdough bread, about 1 3/4 lb. (875 g) total, cut into slices 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
  • Fresh chives for garnish

Directions:

  • In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm 3 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the onions, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are completely limp, 10 to 15 minutes. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown and sweet, 35 to 45 minutes, taking care not let them burn.
  • Add the garlic and chard to the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard just begins to wilt, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl.
  • In the Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the sausage and cook, breaking the meat into smaller pieces, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the bowl with the onion mixture and let cool.
  • In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half and cheese. Season with 1 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grindings of pepper. Working in batches, soak the bread slices in the egg mixture for about 15 seconds, then arrange some of the slices in the Dutch oven, covering the bottom of the pot and overlapping the slices slightly. Repeat with the remaining slices, arranging them on top of the first layer and continuing to overlap them slightly, until all the bread has been used. Pour the remaining egg mixture from the bowl into the caramelized onion mixture and stir to combine. Then pour the entire mixture over the bread slices, rearranging them as needed so the egg mixture reaches the bottom of the pot and covers all the surfaces of the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Remove the plastic wrap from the pot. Drizzle the strata with the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Cover the pot with the lid and bake the strata for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until golden and cooked through, about 20 minutes more. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C) and bake until the top of the strata is lightly browned, about 5 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes, then garnish with chives and serve. Serves 6 to 8.
  • Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen