My friend Nola spends her time flitting between her home here in Florida, up to Connecticut where her Mom and brother reside and out to Colorado, to see her sister, Karen and a bevy of friends. I am the lucky recipient of her travels!
From her trips to the Northeast, she’s brought back fresh, handmade kielbasa, artisanal maple syrup and whole yellow peas – which I can’t find in South Florida. From Colorado, I’ve received spicy, rich hot chocolate, spiked with cayenne and a jar of Tequila Jalapeño Deliciousness. But by far, my favorite regional specialty was the bushel of fire roasted hatch chilies that we split!
You’ve seen those hatch chilies in several incarnations on this site. There was that spicy pork chili, the savory cornbread stuffing, the buffalo sliders with a spiked aioli and of course that sweet and spicy bread.
I’ve still got two bags in my freezer, so here’s another one: Hatch Chile Breakfast Strata. It was only a matter of time before they snuck into the a.m. hours, right?
Strata’s are great for their ease and portability. They feed a crowd and the fact that you make them the night before make them excellent for entertaining. Whenever I’m having company for the weekend or hosting a brunch — STRATA!
For this one, I used a combination of peeled and roasted hatch chiles (if you don’t have access to hatch chiles, you can use any mild green chile), sautéed sweet bell pepper and onion and two kinds of cheese.
Then, I invited the whole family (and Nola) over for brunch! We poured bellinis and mimosas and everyone dug into the savory casserole. Extra garnishes of black olives, chopped fresh tomato, red onion, sour cream, fresh cilantro and salsa verde added another layer of flavor. It’s SOOOOO dang good!
The edges of this casserole bake up to a crispy finish while the interior is soft and pillowy. The chiles add a mild tingle and the cheesy topping is predictably irresistible.
A delicious make-ahead breakfast that feeds a crowd!
- 6 cups country bread stale, diced into 3/4" cubes
- 1 1/2 cups hatch chilies fire roasted, peeled seeded and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 cup onion diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 eggs
- 3 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon + 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper freshly ground
- 2 cups monterey jack cheese shredded
- 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
Spray a large 13 x 9 x 2" casserole dish with vegetable spray and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add the diced bell peppers and onions, sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt. Saute the vegetables until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add the diced hatch chilies and continue to saute until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat. In a large bowl combine the eggs, remaining kosher salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs, then add the milk and whisk to combine.
Layer the casserole: Add the bread cubes to the casserole dish and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with one cup each of the monterey jack and cheddar cheeses. Sprinkle the peppers in an even layer over the cheeses. Pour the egg mixture over the peppers and sprinkle on the remaining cup of monterey jack and half cup of cheddar. Lightly press the contents into the egg mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350° and bake the strata uncovered for 45-55 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned.
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