Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sausage-Kale Strata

We recently had a garage sale.  Lord, help us.  Garage sales are really something else.  I had thought (back when I must have been totally crazy) that we would have a garage sale before we moved into our new house.  However the timing of that was plain ridiculous, since I had a newborn baby at that time.  I certainly wasn't going to be having a sale with a newborn while we are trying to get ready to move.  That was crazy talk.  So we actually made a large donation of stuff before we moved, knowing we would have even more stuff afterwards.

It so happens that our new next door neighbor was building the same time we were, and moved in around the same time as well.  They mentioned that they were going to have a garage sale and wondered if we had anything we'd like them to put in the sale, so I decided to bite the bullet and go for it.  And it worked out well.  I had two boxes marked "garage sale" that we ended up moving to the new house, and had done lots of purging when we moved in, so we had plenty to sell.  And it was a success, though I must admit I don't plan to ever have another one.  They are a lot of work!  This is a long long way to introduce Sausage-Kale Strata, I admit.  I knew that on the morning of the garage sale I would not have the time (or energy) to make my typical Saturday morning breakfast.  I like a good breakfast on Saturday mornings - no cold cereal for me!  Thus a breakfast strata is the thing!  And then I found this amazing strata from the Pioneer Woman and thought I really needed to try it. 

Lordy.  I may never make another strata.  This is one DELICIOUS strata.  In fact, my neighbor (with whom we shared in the garage sale madness) said "this should be illegal".  And she might be right.  It is THAT good.  If you don't care for one of the ingredients, you could just use something else, however you really do just have to try this thing.  I halved the recipe from the Pioneer Woman site, and afterwards wished I hadn't.  I mean, it is probably good - I didn't really NEED seconds, but with something that delicious, you just want some seconds anyway!  And I have no idea how this thing would re-heat - though it would be worth trying.  Throwing leftovers away would be a sin. 

Here is the recipe.  Save it somewhere RIGHT NOW, put the ingredients on your grocery list, and plan on making this baby.  You will thank me.  I promise.

Sausage-Kale Strata
adapted from the Pioneer Woman
serves 12 - can easily be halved

12 whole eggs
2-1/2 cups half and half (I used milk)
salt and pepper, to taste
4 TB fresh oregano, minced (or parsley, basil, etc.)
1 loaf crusty French or Italian bread, cut into cubes
2 pounds breakfast sausage
1 bunch (large) regular kale, torn into pieces
olive oil, for frying
16 ounces (weight) white mushrooms, halved
2-1/2 cups grated Monterey jack cheese

Preheat oven to 425F.

Mix together the eggs, half and half (or milk), salt and pepper, and minced oregano.  Set aside.
Place mushrooms in a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until they are golden brown.  Set these aside.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat  Throw in the kale and cook for 2 minutes, until slightly wilted.  Remove from the heat and set aside. Put the the sausage in the frying pan and cut it into crumbles with a wooden spoon as it cooks.  When browned, remove the sausage from the skillet and place in a bowl or plate lined with some paper towels to get rid of any excess oil. 
Layer half of each of the bread, sausage, kale, mushrooms and cheese in a large buttered lasagna pan.  For half of the recipe, I used and 8x8-inch square glass dish.  Repeat the layers, ending with the cheese.  Slowly pour the egg mixture over the top.  Press the mixture down with your hands, and cover with plastic wrap.  Set the pan in the refrigerator overnight.  It helps if you have something to press down over the plastic wrap in the refrigerator, so all of the bread is evenly soaked.  I used a second 8x8-inch dish and placed some water bottles inside for weight.  
In the morning, preheat the oven to 350F.  Take the strata out of the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.  Remove the plastic wrap and cover the strata with aluminum foil.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is golden and slightly crisp.
Serve, and get ready to reap the praises of your friends and family!

You tell me.  Should this strata be illegal?  Should you have a license to make such amazing yumminess?  Maybe so! 

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