Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cheeseburger Strata

Ok, kids, gather 'round.  We've got a pretty good strata recipe for you this month.  It's partly inspired by end-of-summer hamburger cravings and partly by a staple dish at Katie's family's Thanksgiving-time celebration called, appropriately, 'beef and pickles.'  We don't have much beef around here, but we do have some ground venison and a big jar of pickles, so let's get to it!

We'll pick up this story near the end of the first set of layers, where we've got bread on the bottom, then a layer of about 2/3 lb. browned ground venny, then half a sliced onion and some pickle slices.  We're ashamed to admit they're not our own pickles, but our cukes this year petered out before peter piper could pick and pickle them.  So we got a 32 oz. jar of the bread and butter pickles from the grocery store; dills would probably work, too.  It worked out nicely to have half a jar per layer, with a few leftover for snacking.  Don't forget!  A layer of cheese goes on top of the pickles.

Repeat the bread-meat-onions-pickles-cheese layers, then pour on a mix of six eggs, three cups milk, a teaspoon each of salt and pepper, a tablespoon each of onion and garlic powders and rosemary, and five or six squirts of Worcestershire sauce, if you enjoy that sort of thing on a hamburger.

Set it in the fridge for a few hours...

Then bake at 350 °F for 50-55 min until the onion rings make tiny delicious crop circles on the upper cheese layer.

That would probably taste pretty good with some fruit salad and a glass of crab apple-ade!  The strata can be topped with the desired hamburger toppings: ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut, sour cream, bacon, more cheese, etc.  Katie says, "pretty tasty!"

What are your favorite hamburger seasonings, toppings, and side dishes?  Let us know in the comments section below!

The recipe:
~1.5 lbs. ground venison
1 large onion, sliced
32 oz. jar of sliced pickles
1 tablespoon each garlic powder, onion powder,
1 teaspoon each salt, pepper,
10 slices of bread (at least)
1 lb shredded cheese (we used colby-jack and cheddar)

6 eggs
3 cups milk
1 tablespoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, and dried rosemary
1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
5-6 squirts of Worcestershire sauce

Brown the ground venison in a frying pan over medium heat, seasoning with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste (suggestions above).  The amount of ground meat can be adjusted, too--1 lb gives a two scant layers in the strata, two lbs. makes a very meaty strata.  Layer the bread, browned meat, onion slices, pickles (drained), and cheese in a 9" x 13" pan, starting with bread and ending with cheese, aiming for two layers each. Beat together eggs, milk, and remaining seasonings. Pour over layers and set in fridge for several hours or overnight. Bake at 350 °F for 50-55 min, until senses of sight and smell register 'awesome.' Allow to cool and top with favorite hamburger accoutrements.

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