Strata's an easy dish for a lazy Saturday

June 27, 2007|By Robin Mather Jenkins | Robin Mather Jenkins,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

This leisurely, companionable menu is well-suited to a lazy, gossipy Saturday gathering of friends, or a more intimate, relaxed meal with family alone. If Saturday morning means errands for you and yours, then this easy dish will welcome you home and give you an effortless way to pause and refresh.

The great thing about stratas is that you make them the night before. If you baked this right after prepping it, the bread wouldn't have time to soak up the custard. It needs the resting time. Put this one together while you're prepping Friday's supper, then slide it into the fridge to await your later attention.

But don't save this strata solely for Saturdays. It's perfectly good for Sundays, and with a little forethought, makes an easy weeknight supper as well.

Robin Mather Jenkins writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe analysis.

Menu

Chicken Strata

Steamed broccoli

Fresh fruit salad

Mimosas

Chicken Strata

Serves 8

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, diced

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 small loaf (12 ounces) French bread, torn into bite-sized pieces or unseasoned croutons

8 ounces fontina cheese, grated

8 ounces goats' milk cheese, crumbled

8 eggs, beaten

3 cups milk

1 cup half-and-half

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add chicken to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.

Place bread in a 13-inch-by-9-inch greased baking dish; spoon chicken mixture over bread evenly. Sprinkle cheeses over chicken mixture.

Beat together the eggs, milk, half-and-half, mustard and sage in a medium bowl; pour over chicken mixture in baking dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste; refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake strata until a knife blade inserted near the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Per serving: 640 calories, 36 grams fat, 18 grams saturated fat, 341 milligrams cholesterol, 33 grams carbohydrate, 44 grams protein, 989 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber

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