Saturday, May 31, 2014

Strata de Mayo

Well, it happened again.  We accidentally blinked, and another three weeks flew by.  Fortunately, we remembered just in time to post a strata recipe for May (or maybe we didn't depending on where Blogger thinks we are).  And no, we totally didn't plan to post this closer to Cinco de Mayo, when it would have made way more sense.  But here it is, fashionably late: a strata to celebrate the Mexican army's victory over invading French forces on May 5, 1862 in the Battle of Puebla.

We started by browning up a pound of ground venison in our best cast iron skillet.

We seasoned it with our favorite Mexican seasonings: about a teaspoon each of pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and rosemary, two teaspoons of onion powder and cumin, and half a teaspoon of salt and cayenne pepper. (Ok, maybe paprika isn't Mexican, but it adds some nice red color).  Not pictured: a teaspoon of hot sauce and half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

Then we made the layers in a 13" x 9" pan as usual, with bread at the bottom, then cheese, meat, and chopped onions.  The cheese we had was Monterrey jack, but any cheese will do, as long as it's not French.  (Or at least, if it is French, you have to think of it as defeating the French by eating their cheese.)

Lather, rinse, repeat, ending with cheese on top.

This is the egg soak: six eggs, three cups milk, a tablespoon each of onion powder, garlic powder, and cumin, and half a tablespoon each of black and red pepper.

We poured it over the layers, covered the pan, and set it in the fridge to marinate for several hours.  It works best when soaking next to a couple jars of dandelion jelly.

Later that day, or the next morning, it goes in the oven at 375 °F for 45-55 min, or until it looks like this.  We were going to add some butter-soaked tortilla chips on top, but we kind of forgot.  (For traditional strata, there would be butter-soaked corn flakes, but corn flakes are not usually considered a traditional Mexican dish.)

It goes well with Katie's salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.  Mmmmmm.  It's like a piñata for your tongue! Olé!

How did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo?  Have you made a Mexican-themed strata before?  Tell us about it in the comments section below!

The recipe:
10 slices of bread (at least)
1 lb shredded cheese
1 lb ground venison, browned and seasoned to taste with black pepper, red pepper, red pepper flakes, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, hot sauce, and rosemary
1 onion, chopped
6 eggs
3 cups milk
1 Tablespoon each of onion powder, garlic powder, and cumin,
0.5 Tablespoon each of black and red pepper

Layer the bread, ground meat, onions, and cheese in a 9" x 13" pan, starting with bread and ending with cheese. Beat together eggs, milk, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, and red pepper. Pour over layers and set in fridge for several hours or overnight. Bake at 375 °F for 45-55 min, until golden brown and delicious-smelling. Serve with sour cream, salsa, and guacamole. Green chili sauce and enchilada sauce are also acceptable.

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