A strata is a cross between a bread pudding and a French-toast casserole: layers, or strata, of bread, layers of something delicious and an egg-and-cream(ish) custard to hold it all together.
Here are my takeaway tips from this recipe:
▪ The strata needs a two-quart baking dish that can go from refrigerator to oven. It can be a 9-by-8-inch roasting pan, a square pan or even a round souffle dish, in which case you’ll have more layers. Whatever size it is, make sure to put it on a lined baking sheet, as drips are inevitable.
▪ Whole-berry cranberry sauce is the way to go here; the jellied kind is too slippery. If you want to make your own, it will take less than 10 minutes. My recipe is for a cranberry sauce that’s not very sweet; feel free to add more sugar or drizzle in some honey or maple syrup.
Never miss a local story.
▪ I like Sriracha in the custard, but you can use your favorite hot sauce or chili sauce. Or mix in a little adobo from a can of chipotle chilies. You could even add a little chopped chipotle to the cranberry sauce.
▪ Make sure to give this a long rest in the refrigerator. The bread has to be completely saturated for the strata to be delish.
▪ You could serve this hot or cold, but I think the dish is best when it’s warm or at room temperature.
▪ When there are no more turkey leftovers but you’re still craving this, use roast chicken instead, or make it a meatless strata.
Dorie Greenspan’s next-day turkey-and-cranberry Sriracha strata
The author has included a recipe for cranberry sauce, because a chunky one works best in this recipe. It takes about 10 minutes to make. If you have leftovers that are like that already, you’re ahead of the game.
Make ahead: The assembled strata needs to be refrigerated for at least 6 hours and up to overnight. Uncover and let it sit at room temperature while the oven preheats. The baked strata can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. It will taste best if you let it come to room temperature or reheat it gently in a microwave.
Unsalted butter, for the baking dish
14 to 16 slices cinnamon-raisin bread (about an entire 1-pound loaf of Pepperidge Farm Raisin Cinnamon Swirl)
1 to 2 (packed) cups baby kale or baby spinach
1 to 1 1/2 cups homemade or store-bought whole cranberry sauce (see NOTE)
About 2 cups leftover roasted turkey cubes
1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
6 large eggs
3 to 4 tablespoons Sriracha (may substitute a few dashes of hot sauce for less-intense heat)
Lightly grease the inside of a 2-quart roasting pan or a deep 8-by-9-inch Pyrex baking dish with butter. Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment, foil or a silicone liner
Cut each slice of bread diagonally to make 2 triangles, then cut it diagonally in the opposite direction so that you have 4 triangles.
Arrange about one-third of the bread on the bottom of the pan, leaving space between the triangles. (You don’t need a solid layer of bread.) Cover the bread with half of the greens and dollop on half of the cranberry sauce, again not aiming for a full and smooth layer. Scatter half of the turkey over the greens, then cover with half of the cheese. Season generously with salt and pepper. Repeat with another layer of bread (use half of the remaining bread) and all of the remaining greens, cranberry sauce, turkey and cheese. Season with salt and pepper, and top the casserole with the remaining bread triangles.
Whisk together the half-and-half, eggs and Sriracha (to taste); season with salt and pepper. Slowly and gradually pour this mixture over the strata. You want to cover the top layer of bread - a sometimes messy job, because the liquid might seep over the edges of the pan - and have it trickle down evenly to the base of the pan. Once all of the mixture is in, gently press the layers down with a spatula or fork.
Cover the strata and refrigerate it for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. Remove it from the refrigerator while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Uncover the strata and keep it on the lined baking sheet.
Bake (middle rack) for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of the strata comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and let it cool until the strata is warm or at room temperature. Serve solo or with a lightly dressed green salad.
Note: To make the cranberry sauce, combine 12 ounces of fresh or frozen cranberries, 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring, until most of the berries pop, a bubbling syrup develops and the sauce leaves tracks that quickly fill when stirred. It will not look set, but it will set as it cools. Scrape it into a heatproof bowl and leave at room temperature to cool. Use immediately, or cover well and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Nutrition per serving (using spinach): 420 calories, 23 g protein, 43 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 210 mg cholesterol, 530 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 22 g sugar