Caramelized Onion Strata
There is almost never a moment in my house where I have to ponder what to do with day-old or stale bread. Fresh bread crumbs, croutons to pop on top of a steaming bowl of soup, eggy and sweet French toast, savory bread pudding- the possibilities are endless! In my opinion, the perfect Saturday or Sunday lunch would be a dish that allows you to get creative and use up the last of your stray veggies, scraps of protein, and scatters of herbs while preparing for the week ahead. Oh, and lots of wine, because it is the weekend after all!
Savory bread puddings, also called stratas, are so incredibly easy to prepare with leftover bread (in this case, I mixed in some day-old croissants for extra buttery goodness) and random veggies. Better yet, you can even assemble the bread pudding the night before or the morning of your brunch and let it rest in the fridge before baking. If you haven’t yet discovered the beautiful wine’s from the Rioja region of Spain, now is the time. They are the only region that will not release ANY of their wines until they are ready to drink. (No extra aging = ready to party.) That means if you picked up a bottle Saturday night and got your bread pudding resting in the fridge, the next afternoon your wine AND your meal are pretty much ready to go.
Ok but here’s the best part— since the wines produced in the region of Rioja are known for being so well-balanced and food compatible, any combination you could possibly come up with for this savory bread pudding will be the perfect accompaniment to a bottle of their wine. While you’re taking inventory of all your random ingredients and getting prepared to make this savory bread pudding, you can breathe easy knowing that almost any wine from Rioja will be the perfect pairing for your impromptu brunch. Want to replace the swiss chard with kale? No problem. Chorizo instead of prosciutto? YUP! Cheddar instead of goat? Do. it. up. These wines are so versatile and will pair well with whatever combination you come up with!
Caramelized Onion Strata
3 TBSP Olive oil
2 TBSP Clarified butter/Ghee
3 Small yellow onions, sliced
1 TSP Kosher salt
1/2 TSP Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 TSP Crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
Leaves from 4-5 sprigs of thyme
2 TBSP Soy sauce
5 Slices prosciutto, roughly chopped
2-3 Cloves of garlic, minced or pounded in a mortar and pestle
3 Cups Swiss chard leaves, roughly chopped
4 Cups day-old croissants, cut into 1” cubes
4 Cups day-old sourdough, cut into 1” cubes
1 Cup Gruyere cheese
1 1/2 Cups milk
3/4 Cups heavy cream
4 OZ Goat cheese, crumbled
1) Grease a 9” x 13” baking dish with butter and set aside.
2) In a large Dutch oven or non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil and clarified butter over medium low heat. Add the onions, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and thyme. Cook until caramelized, stirring often, approx. 30 minutes.
3) During the last few minutes of the caramelization, add the prosciutto and cook to render out some of the fat, about 2-5 minutes.
4) Add the soy sauce and scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the Dutch oven.
5) Add the garlic and Swiss chard. Stir and let wilt for 2-3 minutes. Let cool.
6) While the caramelized onion mixture is cooling, place the croissant and bread cubes and gruyere cheese in a large bowl, set aside.
7) In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and heavy cream.
8) Taste the caramelized onion mixture for salt, add more if necessary.
9) Add the egg mixture and the caramelized onion mixture to the bread, croissants and gruyere and toss to combine. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 24 hours.
10) When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake until golden and and the cheese is bubbly, approximately 45-55 minutes. If the top starts to get too brown, cover it with aluminum foil and continue cooking.
This post has been sponsored by Wines of Rioja. All opinions are my own.