Monday, 14 December 2015

Squash & Chevre Strata

This delightful dish can make a festive vegetarian main course - in which case I might sprinkle some grated Cheddar over the top before baking it - or it's very nice with ham. I used a good cheese bread from the day-old rack, which added extra flavour and a pleasant sensation of frugality. (I do love feeling frugal, but not enough to not actually spend any money). Slightly stale bread is actually best for this kind of thing. I left the squash as quite distinct chunks, but you may wish to mash it a bit coarsely if you prefer your squash more diffused.

6 to 8 servings
1 hour - 15 minutes prep time
not including roasting the squash

Roast the Squash:
a 1.5 kg (3 pounds) butternut squash
a little mild vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the squash in half, and remove the seeds and strings from the seed cavity. Rub the cut edges of the squash with a little oil, and roast for an hour to an hour and a quarter, until the squash is tender throughout. This can be done a day or two ahead, and the squash kept refrigerated until needed. Don't forget to clean and toss the seeds with a little oil and salt, and roast them in a small pan, in a single layer, as well! They make a delicious little snack.

Make the Strata:
2 medium onions
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
300 grams chevre
a loaf of day-old sandwich bread
6 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon rubbed savory
1 teaspoon rubbed basil
1/2 teaspoon rubbed thyme
1/4 teaspoon rubbed rosemary
plenty of freshly ground black pepper
2 cups whole milk or light cream

Peel and chop the onions finely. Heat the oil over medium heat in a small skillet, and cook the onions until soft and translucent. Only let them brown a very little bit. Let cool as you proceed.

Peel the squash and cut it into bite-sized chunks. Place them in a 9" x 13" roasting (lasagne) pan. Crumble the chevre and add it to the squash. Cut the bread into similar cubes to the squash, and add them to the pan with the cooled onions. Gently mix them all together and spread them out evenly in the pan.

Break the eggs into a mixing bowl, and whisk in the seasonings. Whisk in the milk or cream. Pour the mixture evenly over the ingredients already in the baking pan, stirring gently if needed to soak all the bread in the eggs and milk. Make sure the mixture is spread out evenly again.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the strata for 50 to 55 minutes, then allow it to rest for another 10 minutes before serving.

Last year at this time I made Shepherd's Tourtière (Tourtière Chinois).

1 comment:

Margaret said...

I didn't grow up eating strata's so don't have much experience with them, but this is the first time I've seen a non-breakfast version. It sounds delicious!