This recipe, as per usual, is the delicious result of a recent brunch. I rarely cook with meat, as my recipe index illustrates, but if there was ever a reason to use bacon, this recipe is that reason. Though it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing of dishes, this strata got rave reviews from my brunch guests. The best part is that preparing the strata the night before guarantees a luxuriously lazy morning–pop the strata into the oven, sip your morning tea or coffee, and relax!
In terms of substitutions, any sort of breakfast meat–sausages, ham, etc–could easily replace the bacon. On the vegetarian side, sauteed bell peppers, mushrooms, or eggplant would probably be delicious. If you do choose to replace the bacon with a vegetarian option, you’ll need to use butter or oil.
Pumpernickel Apple Bacon Strata (adapted from GroupRecipes)
Serves 4-6, depending on hunger and side dishes
1 lb bacon
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 cups cubed bread (I recommend pumpernickel)
2 cups shredded aged cheddar cheese
2 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon ground mustard powder
2 teaspoons barbeque seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove from skillet, and turn the heat down to medium. Cook the apples in the bacon fat until tender, roughly 3 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, then reduce the heat to low and cook for an additional 6 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and chop the bacon into pieces.
In this order, layer half of the bread, bacon, apples, and cheese in a greased casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining bread, bacon, apples, and cheese.
Whisk together the milk, spices, and eggs in a small bowl, then pour over the cheese. Cover the casserole dish tightly, and refrigerate it for 2-24 hours.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake the strata uncovered for 45 minutes. Let it stand and cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!