Friday, November 13, 2009

Thanksgiving Stuffing Strata

Here, the recipe for Becky's home-run: A Thanksgiving casserole based on the breakfast strata concept. Filled with turkey sausage and herbs, it's stuffing transformed. We served it with a tart cranberry gastrique—a tangy reduction of sherry vinegar and cranberry sauce that balanced the richness of the strata and added a bright shot of color to the plate.

Stuffing Strata
18 slices Italian white bread, crusts removed
1 lb. turkey sausage (made with cheese, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme)
2 shallots, minced
8 ounces provolone, sliced thick
4 ounces aged white cheddar, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
5 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Saute sausage and shallots until brown.

Line bottom of 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish with 1 layer of bread, cutting some slices to fit. Arrange half of sausage-and-onion mixture evenly over bread. Sprinkle half of cheddar and half of provolone over. Sprinkle with half of green onions, rosemary, thyme, and basil. Top with second layer of bread. Layer remaining sausage mix, cheese, green onions, and herbs atop bread.

Cut remaining bread into 1/4-inch cubes. Sprinkle over top.

Whisk eggs, milk, mustard, and salt in bowl. Season with pepper. Pour egg mixture over strata; press down on bread with spatula. Drizzle melted butter over strata. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Uncover strata and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Bake until center is set, about 1 hour. Remove from oven. Preheat broiler. Place strata under broiler until top is golden, about 30 seconds. Cut into eight large squares and serve.

Cranberry Gastrique
3/4 cup red-wine or sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons cranberry sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan simmer vinegar until reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Whisk in preserves and salt, whisking until smooth.

Serve warm (or at room temperature). Use the gastrique as more of a garnish than a sauce, as the flavor is strong.

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