Breakfast Egg, Bread, and Pig Casserole

Serves: 10
Rating: 2 stars

2 tbs. olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 tsp. salt
Ground pepper, to taste
1 lb. spinach
1 1/2-lb.  loaf sweet batard, crusts removed, bread cut into 1-inch squares and toasted until dry (about 9 cups) — I used challah bread, crust on
8 oz. ham, diced — I used 4 sweet sausages, casing removed and sauteed
6 oz. Gruyère cheese, grated — I used Jarlsberg
10 eggs
2 1/2 cups half-and-half — I used 1/2 cup lite cream, and 2 cups 2% milk

1. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm 1 tbs. the olive oil. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. — If you are using raw sausage like I did, now is the time to squeeze the meat out of the casing and cook in the pan. Drain and transfer to same bowl as onions when done.

2. In the same pan over medium heat, warm 1/2 tbs. of the olive oil. Add half of the spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a colander. Repeat with the remaining 1/2 tbs. olive oil and spinach. Using a rubber spatula, press out the excess moisture.

3. In a large bowl, toss together the bread cubes, the caramelized onion, spinach, ham (or sausage), and cheese. Transfer to a 4-quart baking dish (I used a 7-quart dish, cooked a little faster). In a bowl, beat together the eggs, half-and-half, the 1 tsp. salt and pepper, to taste. Pour over the bread mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 16 hours.

4. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic wrap from the baking dish and cover with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the top is browned and the strata is cooked through, 40 to 50 minutes more.

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