Saturday, 9 October 2010

Cheddar and Bell Pepper Strata

While it seems that bread and butter pudding never really caught on in the United States, a savoury version of this did. I came across the idea of a strata while searching for recipes to use up the remainder of the cheddar cheese from previous posts. Somewhere between a bread pudding and a quiche, the dish calls for the layering of buttered bread slices with other ingredients to form strata, with the assembly flooded with milk and eggs.

The recipe I have decided to use today came from Epicurious, and allowed me to conveniently use not just my cheese, but the rest of my milk and the Basics mustard that has been living in my fridge for months. I also realise that I have not really paid attention to any vegetarians amongst my readers, so consider this my olive branch to you.

This time round I used Basics pitta bread over white sliced bread, the former having fewer pittas than the sliced loaf has slices. This is good as I am not planning to be home over the next week, and Basics bread products usually spoil very quickly.

Butter the bread, slice up a Basics bell pepper and an onion, and grate or cut some cheese into thin slices.

Start layering the strata. Begin with half of the buttered bread, followed by a layer of cheese.

Fry the onions and peppers. Use this as a third layer for the strata. Repeat the layering process with the rest of the ingredients, layered in the same order.

Prepare the egg and milk mixture. Beat an egg into about 3/4 cups of milk, and add a teaspoon of Basics mustard. Season with pepper and herb mix, and then pour into

Bake in the oven at 175 degrees Celsius for about 30-45 minutes. You want to see the strata set at the centre and lightly browned on top.

The comments on the Epicurious recipe generally recommend leaving the strata to rest for at least 6 hours before baking. While it might help, I don't think it is absolutely necessary. Overall however, this was good, filling, and cheap. Most of the ingredients are readily available in a student's larder, with the possible exception of the bell peppers and mustard.

I realise that I have been focussing quite a bit on American dishes of late. Hopefully the next post would see me return to my familiar pattern of looking at the UK or my hometown.

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