Sunday, January 18, 2015

We Heart Strata

This post will be our twelfth monthly strata recipe, which means we're wrapping up our regular series on strata.  (Although such a versatile dish will certainly make a new appearance on the blog from time to time!)  As a fitting exit, we wanted to express our undying love for this quirky bread casserole the best way we know how: by making a heart strata.

We're adapting one of our favorite non-strata casseroles--cheesy potato, venison, and chard--into strata form.  (Hint: it's easy--just add layers of bread!)  Let's get to it!

The layers this time are bread, cubed lean beef heart meat (thanks Grandma!), cubed (blue and red) potatoes, chopped swiss chard, and colby cheese.  In reality, almost any meat and leafy green (other than lettuce) will do, but the unique firmness of heart is a big plus.  We haven't tried fresh leafy greens, but frozen and/or blanched seems to work just fine.  We precooked the taters in the microwave a bit, but in hindsight, that was probably unnecessary.  We cooked the heart in a crockpot until it was tender, then cubed it up.  Katie says, "Jake, you forgot to add the cheese layer before taking this picture!" Jake says, "What? Oh, um, good job Katie!  You passed the noticing test!"
Add a second layer, then pour over the top a well-beaten mixture of six eggs, three cups milk, a teaspoon each of salt, pepper, and onion powder, and two teaspoons each of garlic powder, dried oregano, and dried basil.

Cover it up and let the whole thing soak in the fridge for several hours.

Bake it at 350 °F for 50-60 minutes until middle is lightly set and cheese on top is golden brown.

Salsa and sour cream (or plain yogurt) are pretty good condiments, but what it really wants is the tangy heat from a few squirts of vinegar-based hot sauce!  Mmmmmm......

The recipe:
Enough bread for 2-3 layers in a 9" x 13" pan
2 lb heart meat slow-cooked and cubed
3-4 cups cubed potatoes
2-3 cups cooked swiss chard or spinach
3-4 cups shredded cheese (we used colby)

3 cups milk
6 eggs
1 teaspoon each salt, pepper, and onion powder,
2 teaspoons each garlic powder, dried oregano, and dried basil

Layer bread, meat, potatoes, chard, and cheese in a 9" x 13" pan until pan is full (usually two layers each, unless your pan is exceptionally short or tall).  Beat together milk, eggs, and spices, pour over the layers, cover, and soak in fridge for several hours or overnight.  Bake at 350 °F for 50-60 min, until cooked through and toasty brown on top.  Hit with a little hot sauce and enjoy a dish more savory than the herb of that name.

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