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All food should be accessible and approachable. Technical words like “strata” can seem like a barrier, but the components really show how it’s no more than an egg casserole. A casserole is really the most approachable, friendly recipe to make. And how could it not be? It’s everything baked together in a dish and served as a meal.
The best part of a strata or egg casserole is the fillings. This recipe is full of hearty flavors with a seasonal fall twist. The delicata squash and bacon create a harmoniously sweet and savory combination with just the right amount of smokiness.
What is a strata?
Strata is nothing more than an egg casserole layered with bread and a choice of meats, cheeses, and extras. The defining factor is that a strata always has bread to soak in the eggy custard and is puffier or soufflé-like once baked.
The best part about a strata is that it can be made the night before serving. Pour the egg custard over the bread and filling, wrap it up tightly, and store in the refrigerator overnight. Bake in the morning for a stress-free breakfast.
Can you switch up the ingredients?
I will always say that every recipe should be given at least one chance as written. However, a strata is one of the easiest dishes to switch up and customize to one’s personal preference or ingredients on hand. The base is the bread and custard, and everything else is extra. Here are some changes that could be made:
- The Swiss chard can easily be switch out for spinach or kale.
- The bacon can be substituted for sausage or left out entirely.
- Cheese is obviously interchangeable. Personally, I think goat cheese is a great replacement.
Watch how to make this squash strata
Swiss Chard & Squash Strata
- 1 whole delicata squash (approximately 1 lb)
- 1 lb bacon
- 2 tbsp bacon oil
- ¾ cup diced onion
- 1 bunch (approx. 11 oz) Swiss chard leaves removed from stems, stems diced, and leaves chopped
- 2 cups whole milk
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 9 large eggs
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 8 cups ½-inch cubed challah bread (about 11 oz)
- 4 oz shredded Gouda
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Remove the stem and slice the delicata squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and pith. Slice each half into ¼-inch slices and lay on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 ½ tsp salt, and 1 tsp black pepper. Roast in the preheated oven until golden and tender, 18-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- While the squash is roasting, cook the bacon in a large skillet in two batches until browned and crisp. Remove all the bacon oil and add 2 tbsp back to the skillet. With the skillet over medium heat, add the onion and Swiss chard stems with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent and the Swiss chard stems are tender, 4-6 minutes. Add the chopped Swiss chard leaves and sauté until wilted, 6-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the milk, cream, and eggs. Whisk to combine and break up the eggs. Add the pepper, salt, mustard, and nutmeg. Whisk and set aside.
- In a 9×13 baking dish, arrange the cubed bread with the prepared squash, bacon, Swiss chard mixture, and cheese. Evenly distribute all the components and pour the custard over the top slowly to make sure each cube of bread receives some custard. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the strata in the preheated oven and bake until the top is golden and the casserole is puffed and just slightly jiggly in the center, 50-75 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.