I have been lazy, its true. How lazy, you may ask? No posts for weeks! But, here I am again to share a lazy girl’s brunch idea.
Lazy, because you can do almost all of it the night before, then lounge in bed until you really have to get up for your guests. Mmmm… lazy is goooood!
I was thinking about make-ahead dishes, but then, if you really make ahead, the house doesn’t smell enticing and intriguing when your guests arrive. Then I got to thinking about something like a strata.
Stratas (layers, just like it sounds) are great because you assemble them the night before, chill, remove from the fridge, bake and voila! A basic traditional strata is (usually, anyway) layers of cooked spinach, cheese, and bread cubes. That may not sound like much, but when you pour a simple custard over it, let is soak in overnight, and bake it, it becomes puffy, heavenly, and oh so yummy. And the house smells divine!
The challenge here was that my guest is one of my GF GFs, so no bread…
This worked out fine, though. I used corn tortillas (tortillas in the Mexican sense, not the Spanish!) and changed it up entirely, but it was still a very easy make-ahead meal. Understand that this, like many if not most of my recipes, is only a jumping off point.
For a vegetarian version add a can of drained rinsed black beans in place of the meat. Mmmmmmm!!
Here’s what I did:
1-Hour 2-Day Tortilla Strata
1 medium onion chopped
3 T olive oil
1/2 lb. ground beef
ground cumin, coriander, salt and pepper
1 can sweet corn, drained
1 C (or more) grated cheese of choice*
5 or 6 eggs
1 cup (or so) of milk
12 6-inch corn tortillas**
butter for the baking dish
a good handful of chopped scallion greens
In a good-sized skillet, sauté the chopped onion in the olive oil. When the onions are translucent add the ground beef and cook until done. Add the spices and salt and pepper to taste. Add the drained sweet corn, stir to incorporate, remove from heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
While the meat mixture is cooling:
Butter a ceramic or Pyrex baking dish. Lay entire corn tortillas with a slight overlap (think roof shingles) in the bottom to cover.
Whisk or blend together the eggs and milk. I used a blender as I wanted it to be smooth.
When the meat mixture has cooled, add a layer to the baking dish, then add a layer of cheese, then a layer of chopped corn tortillas. I cut the tortillas in roughly 1/2-inch squares.
Continue layering, ending with chopped tortillas on top. Pour the egg and milk mixture over to almost cover. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.
In the morning (yes, you do have to get up briefly, I’m sorry) take it out of the fridge about an hour before you plan to bake it to let it come to room temperature.
About an hour before your guests are due, preheat the oven to 350F. Uncover the strata, sprinkle with the chopped scallion greens, and bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes.
Let it sit for a few minutes before serving so the “custard” can set, and serve with your salsa of choice on the side. Mmmm…
*I used grated queso Chihuahua but you can use any melty cheese, or even a mix of Jack and Cheddar. Its all good!
**These are soft corn tortillas (not “taco shells”) for you Yankees out there (grin).
If you are in a hurry, you can cut the “chilling” time to as little as two hours, but I think overnight really is best. Or you can make it in the morning, chill it all day and serve it for supper with a green salad and good red wine…
Easy peasy, good and good for you, and if there is any left it keeps nicely and reheats well. As breakfast or brunch, serve with good coffee and good conversation!
Mmmm… Buen provecho!