Sausage and Cheese Strata

Strata

Breakfast is the most delicious meal of the day, but it doesn't matter so much when in the day it comes. At least one night a month, we have Breakfast for Dinner — the kind of hearty breakfast you imagine reading about in old Bobbsey Twins books — waffles and bacon, or scrambled eggs with sausages, or French toast with, well, bacon or sausages.

This recipe, the best of its type I've ever tried, is fairly main course-y. Serve it with some kind of fruit, and you're done!

Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 3 1/2 hours
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

    6 English muffins, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, or 8 thick slices of Italian bread, cubed
    1/2 pound bulk sausage (or breakfast sausage with the casings removed)
    12 ounces Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, grated
    4 large eggs, beaten
    1 1/2 cups milk (any kind)
    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    Pinch of cayenne pepper
    1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Directions

  1. At least two hours before you'll be baking the strata, heat oven to 350. On a cookie sheet, in a single layer, bake English muffin or bread cubes for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are dried out and beginning to brown. Turn oven off, remove cubes, and let cool while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
  2. In a skillet, brown and break up sausage and transfer it to paper towels to drain. Brush a 2-quart soufflé or casserole dish with about a tablespoon of the fat from the skillet. In the dish, arrange layers as follows: 1/3 English muffin cubes, 1/3 cheese, all the sausage, 1/3 English muffin cubes, 1/3 cheese, 1/3 English muffin cubes. Press the contents of the dish down firmly.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, mustard, cayenne, and Worcestershire sauce; pour mixture over strata. Top the dish with remaining cheese, and drizzle the top with melted butter. Chill, covered, at least an hour, or overnight.
  4. Let dish stand at room temperature for 45 minutes before you bake it. Heat oven to 350. Bake strata for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until it's golden brown and puffy.

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