Candied bacon and egg strata. The perfect make-ahead brunch casserole!
Okay, let’s fast forward. It’s the Friday after Thanksgiving. You’ve cooked, baked, basted, washed, dried and collapsed. Think your work is done? Nope. Thing is…you have a houseful people waking up bleary eyed with stretched stomachs wanting to know what’s for breakfast and you. are. tired.
I’m here for you. And I’m tired too. That’s why when the adrenilin is still pumping on Thursday, it’s time to pull together Friday’s breakfast. Whaaat? Hear me out. If you are the opposite of a morning person like me, it’s a struggle being cordial, let alone friendly, first thing in the morning. I need coffee and space before engaging in anything outside of my normal routine. Problem is, I live in a house with morning people. They’re up long before me and by the time I’m grumbling my way down the stairs they’re ready to stick forks in their eyes from hunger.
The solution? A strata! An eggy, cheesey, satisfying casserole put together the day before and popped into the oven in the morning. Best part? I can sleep in and all my early-riser spouse has to do is throw it in the oven and act like a hero.
This strata is a little salty and sweet, which I love since I can never seem to decide between french toast or eggs in the morning. I candy the bacon in brown sugar and maple syrup, then chop it up and toss it in with lightly toasted bread, shredded gruyere and an oniony custard base. It bakes up in a half hour or so and all I have to do is pour my coffee and relax. Sure it’s extra work in the kitchen on the busiest day of they year, but you’re already in the trenches. So pour another glass of wine, recruit a couple of extra hands to wash and dry, and bite the bullet to pull this last dish together. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it in the morning.
- 12 slices thick cut bacon
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp real maple syrup
- 1 pound regular white bread cubed
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 large onion diced
- 10 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 8 oz gruyere cheese shredded
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
Lay strips of bacon on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon and drizzle with maple syrup.
Bake until browned, about 20 minutes, then cool and coarsely chop. Set aside.
Spread cubed bread on baking sheet and toast in oven, until just lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Cool and place in large bowl.
Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a saute pan, add onion and cook until softened, 6-8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Whisk eggs, add milk, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper and whisk again.
Add onion and gruyere and stir to combine.
Pour egg mixture over bread cubes and toss.
Pour bread mixture into prepared pan and sprinkle with bacon.
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, heat oven to 375 degrees and bake strata uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.