I feel like I’ve been time-traveling to the future in the last week. While the excitement of Thanksgiving is building steadily in much of the blogosphere, I already moved on to making creative dishes out of leftovers from my (non-Thanksgiving-related) turkey feast. I love my stuffing enough to eat it directly out of the fridge (don’t judge) but the slices of roast turkey needed help. Since I had some leftover stale bread, lots of extra herbs, and crimini mushrooms, I came up with making a brunch spread with the star being Turkey Mushroom Strata.
What is a strata? Long story short, it’s a savoury bread pudding. It is the final resting place welcoming home to odds and ends in the fridge that embraces the motto sum is greater than its parts. Best of all, it is a very forgiving dish to make with much wiggling room for improvisation based on ingredients you have on hand. I did not follow any recipes for mine but Martha Stewart has a collection of frittata and strata recipes that look great. My post-Thanksgiving strata was hearty with plenty of chopped roast turkey with caramelized onion and mushrooms, but barely any stale bread. The generous layer of mixed herbs including sage, parsley, and summer savory gave it a fresh taste. The custard of eggs, lots of egg whites, and milk was seasoned with paprika, nutmeg, and Dijon mustard. A snowy blanket of grated parmesan cheese finished it with crispy brown crust.
The good thing about making strata is that it benefits from overnight soaking so the layers of bread and goodies can absorb the custard. This means less hectic morning for the sleepy cook! My stratas were small but they still took about an hour of baking at 350F to fully set. That was plenty of time to work on other dishes for the brunch. I wanted to take full advantage of the warm oven so I made Apple Rye Cake from Dan Lepard’s Short & Sweet. The simplicity of this cake made it very feasible to have the batter ready in the baking pan under 30 minutes. Then it joined the strata for half an hour of baking so everything was ready at the same time. Convenient!
A number of reasons drew me to Lepard’s recipe. It’s Dan Lepard, need I say more? Okay okay, enough with enthusing by a fan. First, it is made with 100% dark rye flour. The rustic flavour pairs well with the soft and tart apple dices throughout the cake. The cake has a subdued sweetness created by muscovado sugar and golden syrup. Yum! I made mine with duck eggs for extra richness just because. A touch of ground almond helps to keep the cake tender.
Brunch ought to be wholesome even though the very nature of the meal suggests indulgence and relaxation. I balanced this menu with a raw kale salad in a garlic lemon vinaigrette and topped with grated parmesan and toasted breadcrumbs. Surely you have some kale on your Thanksgiving shopping list? They are so beautiful at this time of the season. As for drinks, what can be more wholesome than a cold glass of dark chocolate milk?
Stay tune this week for more ideas on Thanksgiving leftover! It’s always nice to plan ahead, you know?
Turkey Mushroom Strata
Garlicky Lemon Kale Salad
Apple Rye Cake
Dark Chocolate Milk