12 months ago

Bacon & Leek Strata

Looking for an update on the traditional egg bake? This new strata recipe from Twin Cities food blogger greens & chocolate is a great way to use up a loaf of stale bread, made with leeks, cheese…and plenty of bacon!

The start of spring in Minnesota can only mean one thing. Okay, two. For one, we can cross our fingers and hope the nicer weather is here to stay. I suppose we shouldn’t hold our breath, though. Secondly, I consider spring brunch season. There’s Easter brunch, of course, and then it seems that a bulk of wedding and baby showers are in the spring, most of which inevitably involve brunch.

So with brunch season upon us, I think we all need a new solid egg bake recipe to get us through. I’m a huge fan of stratas, which are made of chunks of bread (a perfect use for stale bread!), eggs and milk. Topped with a big handful of shredded cheese and you’re on your way to a pretty tasty brunch.

The great thing about stratas, like many egg dishes, is they are very adaptable to preferences of meat, veggies and cheese. I recently made a vegetarian strata with mushrooms, spinach and dill havarti cheese which proves that a tasty strata does not need to have meat.

However, I have to say the bacon in this strata is pretty dang delicious. It also allows for this recipe to be really simple and have a super short ingredient list, all the while being full of flavor.  We can thank the bacon and leeks for that.

I used Gruyère cheese in this strata because that’s what I had on hand, and you can do the same! Use whatever leftover bag or block of cheese you have laying around. I think cheddar, Havarti, Fontina, or even Feta and goat cheese if you’re feeling like a tangier cheese, would all work well too.

Another great reason to make a strata is to use up a loaf of stale bread. I used a hearty whole grain loaf that I had sitting around for a few days, and while I loved the little seeds and chewy crust bits in every few bites, any sort of French or sandwich bread would work well, too.

So whether you’re hosting Easter brunch, need a dish to bring to a baby shower brunch, or just have a leftover stale loaf of bread begging to be used, give this strata a shot. It is nothing short of amazing.

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Bacon & Leek Strata Recipe

6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 10 slices bacon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced and rinsed well
  • 5 cups French or whole grain bread, cubed
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Havarti or Gruyère cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease 9×13 inch baking dish.
  3. Cut bacon into bite-sized pieces.
  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon.
  5. Once cooked, remove from pan and set aside.
  6. In the same skillet, wipe out most of the excess bacon grease and add olive oil over medium heat.
  7. Add leeks, season with salt and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
  8. Combine cooked bacon, leeks and bread, tossing to combine.
  9. Place in baking dish.
  10. Whisk together eggs, milk and salt. Pour over bread mixture.
  11. Top with cheese. At this point you can either bake it immediately or refrigerate 2 hours, or up to overnight.
  12. Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes. If you refrigerated it overnight, you will likely need to add 10 minutes to the baking time. If the cheese starts to get too brown, cover with aluminum foil.
  13. Serve and enjoy!