My husband, though very cute, is one of those crazy people who will only eat eggs at breakfast. To that end, this recipe is a riff off a strata that my brother and I prepare for Christmas brunch every year. In this version, the egg mixture is replaced with chicken stock, resulting in a fluffy, juicy dish perfect for a winter dinner, or holiday side. —lisina
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Lisina is a private chef living in Michigan.
WHAT: A cross between bread pudding, stuffing, and strata, it's the ultimate in eggless comfort food.
HOW: Toss together roasted squash, pork sausage, kale, and cheese with crusty bread; moisten it all with stock, then bake until crispy on top and creamy in the middle.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Soaking the bread in chicken broth instead of eggs creates a base that is custardy yet light. The kale adds a satisfying crunch against the softness of the bread and the squash, and there's enough sausage to add flavor and texture, but not so much that it overpowers the dish. Fontina cheese delivers a nutty and buttery flavor—and despite its egglessness, we think any leftovers would be extremely delicious the next day with a fried egg on top. —The Editors
4 for dinner, 8 as a side
small butternut squash
pork sausage (I used a simple salt-and-pepper blend)
shallot, thinly sliced
large bundles of kale, ribs removed, chopped
thick-cut slices of day-old, hard-crusted bread
good chicken stock (preferably homemade), or more if needed
Preheat oven to 400° F. Peel butternut, remove the seeds, and chop into 1-inch cubes. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast for 40 minutes, until cooked through and golden. Allow to cool.
In a sauté pan, brown the sausage, breaking it up into bite-sized chunks. When it is nearly cooked, add the shallot and cook for about a minute before deglazing the pan with the white wine. Let the wine cook down, and remove the sausage mixture from the pan. Allow to cool.
In the same pan, add the kale and season with salt. Let the kale cook down, remove from pan, and allow to cool.
Cut the bread into large chunks, about 1 1/2-inch cubes. Add them to a large bowl and ladle the chicken stock over top. Let the bread soak up the chicken stock, adding more if needed. The bread should be fully saturated with the stock.
Add the cooled squash, sausage, and kale to the bread and mix. Add the fontina, reserving a generous handful, and toss everything together.
Reduce oven heat to 350° F. Butter a gratin dish and add the strata mixture. Sprinkle the remaining fontina over top. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove foil and turn on the broiler. Cook under the broiler for 2 to 5 minutes, watching VERY CAREFULLY to make sure it doesn't burn. When the top is golden, remove from oven and serve.