CHICKEN AND SPINACH BREAD BAKE (STRATA)
Prep Time: 10 mins / Cook Time: 15 mins
- 7 cups french bread , cut into 2 cm / 1 inch cubes
- 1 cup grated cheese (any melting cheese is fine – tasty, cheddar, mozzarella)
- 250 g / 8 oz frozen spinach (2 packets, chopped)
- 1 cup shredded or diced chicken , or any other cooked protein, ham or bacon
- Parsley , finely chopped (garnish – optional)
- 6 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1 tsp salt
- Black pepper
Defrost the spinach in the microwave (4 minutes on high), then squeeze out excess water.
Make Egg mixture: Place ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined.
Spread half the bread into the base of a baking dish 25cm x 25cm (10″ x 10″).
Layer with the spinach, then chicken then top with half the cheese.
Top with remaining bread. Squish the bread down to compress (this helps the egg mixture to be soaked up evenly).
Pour over egg mixture – try to cover all the bread evenly.
Top with remaining cheese, then squish down to help the bread soak up the egg mixture.
Set aside for at least 15 minutes, preferably 30 minutes.
To freeze: Cover tightly and place in freezer. Defrost completely before cooking.
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil, then bake for a further 10 minutes until golden on top.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with parsley if desired.
1. This recipe works well with stale or fresh bread. If you use stale bread, you must put it aside for 30 minutes before baking to give the egg mixture a chance to seep into the bread. If you use (reasonably) fresh bread then baking it straight away is ok (but still preferable to set aside for a while).
2. Bread comes in all sizes so it is a bit hard to measure exactly how much you need. Basically you need 2 x enough to cover the base of a square baking dish approximately 25cm x 25cm (10 ” x 10″) (i.e. one for bottom layer, one for top)
3. You can substitute the frozen spinach with fresh spinach. Shred, then pan fry briefly to remove liquid before layering.
4. If you use bacon instead of chicken, dice it then fry it first before layering. And halve the amount of salt in the Egg Mixture.
5. If you use mozzarella cheese you will need to increase the salt by 1/4 tsp (because it is not salty).
6. You can make 4 individual servings rather than 1 big one. Use 1 1/2 to 2 cup capacity ramekins. They will bake in 15 minutes.
7. This is not an overnight version. If you want to make this the day before, add 1 egg and 1/4 cup of milk, otherwise it will be too dry.