I can be an impatient person (my husband will affectionately call me Veruca Salt from time to time, and if I'm being exceptionally impatient, he will sing the Willy Wonka song). This impatience has lead to many years of quick meals because when I want food, I want it now. Breakfast especially needs to be quick and something I don't have to put a lot of energy in to. So where does this strata fit in?
My impatience with breakfast can easily be combatted with a little prep the night before. I've been known to wake up at 5:00 am just to pull make-ahead cinnamon rolls from the fridge to finish rising (there is, in my mind, nothing more delicious than a hot cinnamon roll in the morning).
And this strata? You don't even have to get up early or do anything extra in the morning. It's as simple as turning on the oven and popping it in for an hour or so. Sure, it takes some time to bake, but the hard work has already been done!
This particular strata is ready for fall — it's packed with all my favorite cool weather ingredients like squash and rosemary! You could steam or boil the sweet potatoes, but I love the flavor the they get when roasted alongside the onions.
And the bread? I almost always reach for my favorite type for a recipe like this: whole wheat sourdough. I love the character the sourdough bread gives to the overall dish, but any stale artisan bread will do just fine.
Sweet Potato & Spinach Breakfast Strata
Serves 4 to 6
1 medium sweet potato (2 cups cubed)
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
2 cups spinach, shredded
8 ounces stale whole wheat sourdough bread (7 to 8 thick slices)
4 ounces shredded fontina, divided
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon minced chives
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cup whole milk
Prep this strata the night before you plan to serve it. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Peel and cut the sweet potato into 1/4-inch cubes. Toss them with the onion, olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet or roasting pan, and roast until the sweet potatoes are tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
Place the spinach in a large bowl and scoop hot sweet potatoes and onions top. Stir, letting spinach wilt just slightly from the heat of the roasted vegetables. Cube the bread and add to the bowl, along with 2 ounces of cheese, the rosemary and the chives. Toss the mixture until well combined.
Lightly grease a 9x9-inch (or 2 1/2 quart) baking dish. Scoop the bread mixture into the pan, evenly distributing the spinach and sweet potatoes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour over the bread mixture, pressing down on the bread to submerge it completely in the egg mixture. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, remove strata from refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350˚F. Bake the strata for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with remaining 2 ounces of cheese, and continue to bake uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes until the strata has puffed and the cheese is browning. Serve with an extra sprinkle of chives.
(Image credits: Erin Alderson)