This post is ostensibly about strata. But what I really want to do is sing the praises of a vegetarian sausage that was recommended to me by a friend. I know, I know. If you're like me, you're thinking, "Veggie sausage? Blech." But seriously Field Roast sausages have changed my whole estimation of American-style fake meat.*
I get this brand of veggie sausage at Whole Foods, and it comes in a few flavors, including Italian and Mexican Chorizo. Not only does it have a good texture (not weirdly chewy or dry like other fake meats), it's also super tasty, with tons of herbs and spices. I used the Italian sausage in my favorite strata recipe, and the fennel and pepper notes in it just made the dish.
* Chinese fake meat is a whole other matter; generally, that's delicious.
6 large eggs
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup finely grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons herbs de provence
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup Ricotta (or cream cheese)
3 or 4 Fieldroast Italian sausage links (there are 4 links per pack)
1 large red bell pepper, halved, seeded, diced
1 1-pound loaf rustic French bread, diced into 1-in cubes
1 cup coarsely grated Fontina or Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2- inch ceramic or glass baking dish. Whisk first 8 ingredients in large bowl.
Saute sausage and peppers together over high heat, breaking up sausage into small crumbles.
Arrange half of bread cubes in prepared dish. Pour half of wet mixture over. Sprinkle with half of sausage and pepper mixture. Scatter bits of the ricotta (or cream cheese) throughout the dish. Then sprinkle the Fontana or Parmesan cheese. Repeat layering. Press on the bread to submerge it in the custard. Let stand for at least 20 minutes, but preferably overnight in the fridge. If refrigerated, take out 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking.
Bake strata until puffed and brown, about 1 hour.