Breakfast Strata with Pancetta and Caramelized Onions
Anytime you need to feed a crowd before noon, bring out this breakfast strata with pancetta and caramelized onions. With bread, eggs, and a simple seasoning blend all baked into one package, it's savory, hearty, and full of flavor. Best of all, 99% of the work is done the night before!
- 8 cups day-old bread cut into 3/4-inch cubes and loosely-packed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 12 ounces thickly sliced pancetta
- 2 medium yellow onions thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 12 large eggs
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese about 8 ounces or 250 grams
Lightly coat a deep 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and spread the cubed bread in the bottom.
In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the pancetta until the fat is mostly rendered and it begins to get crisp, 7-9 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Coarsely chop or crumble, if not already in pieces.
To the same skillet, still over medium heat, add the onions, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes, until the onions are medium golden-brown and lightly caramelized.
While the pancetta and onions are cooking, add eggs to a large bowl, and whisk to blend. Add the milk, mustard, nutmeg, thyme, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper; whisk again until well-combined.
Spread the pancetta over the bread cubes, then layer the onions on top. Sprinkle grated Gruyère on next, then pour the egg mixture over everything.
Press down gently on the top, so that all of the bread cubes get soaked with the egg mixture. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
Bake strata, uncovered, until the edges are bubbling and the top begins to brown, 35 to 50 minutes. (Baking times may vary considerably depending on the depth of your baking dish.) To check for doneness, insert a knife into the middle of the strata; if it comes out clean, the dish is baked through. Cover with aluminum foil near the end of cooking if the top is already browned. Remove, and serve warm.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Recipe adapted from The Kitchn; the significant changes are to the yield and the method, specifically to reduce the number of dishes you need to wash afterwards (always a goal of mine) and add the flavor of the pancetta to the onions, because really, why not?
Calories: 325kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 182mg, Sodium: 550mg, Potassium: 239mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 495IU, Vitamin C: 1.8mg, Calcium: 299mg, Iron: 1.5mg
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