Thursday, April 24, 2014

Original Easter Ham Strata!

Holy smokes, it's Easter time! (or at least, it was last weekend.)  That means that it's time to celebrate with that age-old treasure of the Waldo, WI Methodists: ham strata.  We eat seasonal stratas (what's the plural of strata?) at different times of the year, and are currently embarking on a journey to perfect one strata recipe per month.  But the month of April was easy, because it is the month in which the original strata (as far as we know) originated, and it's already perfected.  What follows below is the proper way to prepare the original Easter ham strata.

Start with a layer of bread in a 9" x 13" pan, then a layer of ham, and a layer (or two) of cheese. If Katie's not watching, you don't have to tear the bread into little pieces, and you can increase the cheese and ham as you see fit.  (The amounts given in the recipe are minimums.)  We used cheddar and swiss, but if you're feeling rebellious, other kinds of cheese work, too, as long as they can melt.  American cheese doesn't count because it's not really cheese.

Repeat the layers as necessary to fill the pan, ending with a layer of cheese(s) on top.

Then beat together 6 eggs and 3 cups milk, along with 0.5 teaspoon onion powder, 0.5 teaspoon garlic powder, 0.25 teaspoon salt, 0.5 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon mustard.  Pour it over the cheese/bread/ham mix, and let it soak/marinate/blossom overnight, or at least several hours.  Traditionally this is done Saturday afternoon or evening by a crew of hyperactive middle schoolers, but it can also be done satisfactorily by grown-ups.

While the strata is soaking, attend an Easter Sunday sunrise service.  Traditionally, the service is in Waldo, WI, but the Red Rocks amphitheater in Colorado is an acceptable substitute.

Well, lookey here!  It's a mule deer!  How would you like to be featured in our next strata, mule deer?

After the service, lightly crunch 3 cups corn flakes and mix them with 4 Tablespoons melted butter.

Apply the buttered corn flakes to the top of the strata...

...and bake at 375 °F for 50-60 minutes until it looks like this.
Cut into large pieces and move to a plate while still steaming hot and melted cheesey.  Look!  Layers!  (Just like an ogre!)

The recipe:
10 slices of bread (at least)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded swiss cheese
3 cups ham, shredded
6 eggs
3 cups milk
0.5 teaspoon each of onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper
0.25 teaspoon salt
3 cups corn flakes, lightly crushed
4 Tablespoons butter, melted

Layer the bread, ham, and cheese in a 9" x 13" pan, starting with bread and ending with cheese.  Beat together eggs, milk, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and salt.  Pour over mixture and set in fridge for at least 12 hours, preferably overnight.  Attend Easter sunrise service.  Mix together melted butter and corn flakes, spread over top of bread-ham-cheese layers.  Bake at 375 °F for 50-60 min, until corn flakes are more golden brown than they started.

How do you celebrate Easter?  How much ham strata does it involve?  Let us know in the comments section below!

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