Artichoke and Goat Cheese Strata

Joe and I went on a little getaway this past weekend to lovely Richmond, Virginia, where we stayed in a historic inn, visited the Confederate white house, bought some ass-cheap vintage records, and ate a lot of delicious Southern food. I knew I wouldn't feel like cooking when we got home on Sunday, so I planned to have some strategic leftovers in the house. And there's nothing that says "leftovers" like a casserole.

So ahead of time I prepared this yummy artichoke and goat cheese strata. A strata is a special kind of casserole that's always made with bread, milk, and eggs, plus whatever other ingredients you want to add to mix up the flavors. It's kind of like a savory bread pudding, but more solid (less gooey) and it's purposefully layered (hence the name). Very delish, keeps well for several days, and works with an easy simple green salad on the side.

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Strata
From Cooking Light
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup  finely chopped shallots (about 1 large)
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
  • 1 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 (1-pound) loaf country-style white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled goat cheese, divided
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in artichoke hearts and garlic; cook for 8 minutes or until artichoke hearts begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in herbes de Provence. Cool 10 minutes. Combine milk, black pepper, salt, and eggs in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and bread; toss gently to combine. Stir in artichoke mixture, and let stand for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F. Spoon half of bread mixture into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with half of goat cheese, and top with remaining bread mixture. Sprinkle remaining half of goat cheese over top. Bake for 50 minutes or until browned and bubbly.