I made this recipe ones when there wasn’t time for making a pie pastry and it worked out great; since then it is my go-to dish for a quik and easy lunch or dinner. I also make the filling some times with lamb, chicken or turkey, mushrooms and also just sautéed vegetables. It pairs very well with many other cheeses; if lamb is used for the filling, I crumble feta inbetween layers and on the top.
The filling for this Strata is very tasty in Ciabatta or Focaccia bread pressed sandwiches with roasted marinated bell peppers and slices of Fontina or Provolone cheese.
What You'll Need
• 11/2 pounds ground 85/15 fat beef
• 1 medium onion, chopped small
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 1/4 cup chicken broth
• 6-8 slices stale white French bread, lightly toasted (not a Baguette)
• 8 large eggs room temperature
• 11/2 cups chicken broth for custard
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
• 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
• Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
• 11/2 cups shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese
• 1 medium bag of spinach
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef, stirring
occasionally, and breaking up meat with a spoon, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add onion; cook stirring, until soft, 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and sugar, salt and pepper, cook for 2 -3 more minutes.
Add balsamic vinegar and then pour the 1/4 cup of chicken broth into skillet with the beef mixture and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed. Mix in the spinach and herbs. Transfer to a large plate; let cool until barely warm.
Butter an 8-inch-square baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together
eggs, 11/2 cups chicken broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Arrange half of the bread in a slightly overlapping layer in bottom of the dish. Scatter half the beef and spinach mixture and then half the cheese over the bread. Repeat with remaining bread, beef and spinach mixture, and cheese, pressing firmly. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered, until puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. If it is refrigerated overnight, it may need to cook a few minutes longer.