The best thing about a big renovation project is the excuse to make large, glorious, fatty breakfasts. Hey, I'm gonna work it off over the next 8 hours! Gotta start the day out strong. I can't work hungry.
Not that this is actually all that fatty, considering. It's just bread, eggs, milk, Swiss chard, a little sausage and a little cheese. But it certainly is compared to berries and yogurt or oatmeal, which I have decided would not power us through much manual labor. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)
A month or two ago I subscribed to the Martha mag Everyday Food and I just got my first issue. It's a cute little TV-guide sized magazine with a surprising number of recipes and ideas, including this delicious strata as part of an article on how to use leftover bread. It's reeeeally good. And ideal if you know you'll be pressed for time the next morning or have overnight guests - you can actually prepare the whole thing the night before and let it soak in the fridge, then pop it in the oven the next morning.
I finally used the last of my homemade breakfast sausage. *single tear* Time to buy another giant chunk of pork. I'm thinking another batch each of andouille and breakfast sausage, some hot Italian, and maybe something new and different?
~ 1/2 a pound of breakfast sausage, squeezed out of the casing (I used 2 large links, next time I think I'll just make patties)
1/2 a shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard, cut into thick ribbons
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 a day old loaf of baguette, sliced into rounds about 1/2 an inch thick
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded provolone (or whatever good melty cheese you have in your fridge)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Make coffee.
In a skillet, brown the sausage. Once it's cooked through, remove it to a plate. To the fat left in the skillet, add the shallot and garlic. When they've softened after a minute or two, add the Swiss chard and a little splash of water to scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. YAY. Season with a little kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and cayenne. Add the sausage back to the pan and mix through.
First, deposit about half of your sausage and chard mixture in the bottom of a baking dish. Then take all of your little baguette rounds and arrange them on top, overlapping each other. Then strew the rest of your sausage and chard mixture on top of the bread, trying to get it fairly even. Now, whisk together your eggs and milk with a little kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and pour it over the whole thing. Use your hands to squinch it all down so the goo has permeated every corner. Foil it over and set aside for at least 10 minutes (or leave it in the fridge overnight).
Bake for ~35 minutes, then uncover, top with cheese, and bake another 5 or 6 minutes, until the egg has completely set. Gorge, and get to work!
Serves 4, supposedly. It only took 3 to finish.