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Green Chile Strata

I’m all for hosting brunch as long as I don’t have to wake up early. Which essentially means the whole shebang needs to be made in advance. This is fine when the menu consists of fruit salad, maybe some biscuits, rolls, bacon, but eggs in advance are a bit trickier. And, let's be honest, for most brunch just isn't brunch without some eggs!

The strata (an egg-heavy bread pudding) is my answer to make-ahead eggs. Not only can make it in advance, you must! The bread needs to sit overnight and soak up the egg and cream mixture. When you bake it the next day, it becomes puffy, golden and crunchy on the outside and with a warm, custard-like interior.

For this particular strata, I used sautéed poblano peppers—those large, mild, green peppers that look a bit like an elf's shoe. Dried poblano peppers are called ancho chiles, but fresh they have a verdant flavor not all that different from a bell pepper but with a more complex, smokiness to them. They are terrific stuffed or, in this case, folded into eggs baked.

I decided to forgo cheese and use sour cream and half-and-half for a tangy richness that keeps the strata light and fluffy. If you would like to add some cheese into your version, I would use a cup of a mild variety that melts well, like shredded Monterey Jack or Asadero. An extra 1/2 cup sprinkled over the top will add a more rich flavor.

Once you have this combination down, try riffing with your favorite flavors to give the recipe a new spin—spinach and queso fresco, perhaps?  Maybe some cooked and crumbled bacon? The variations are infinite. You’ll be surprised how a few ingredients in a baking dish can make a spectacular brunch, and one that doesn't interfere with sleeping in!

Green Chile Strata

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large poblano chiles, stems and seeds removed, and chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 pound hearty country bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 cup green tomatillo salsa
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

Get the full recipe.

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