This Cheese and Ham Strata Recipe is versatile and incredibly easy. Make it savory or sweet – it’s a great use for stale bread and can feed a large group. This is a weekday staple at my house, especially since it’s quick and easy.
This ham strata recipe is such a pinch to make and it’s so incredibly filling. I love it because there are so many variations – you can even make a brunch or breakfast version! – and you can create the strata with whatever you have on hand. I typically store a loaf of bread in the freezer and save it for when I need an easy meal.
This ham strata recipe is my favorite because it combines salty ham with cheese and bread – it’s like a sandwich casserole!
You’ll want to start with a thick, crusty bread. When I first started creating this recipe, I used a French baguette. After making it a few times, I now reach for a Italian loaf. I like the texture and size of the Italian loaf – I feel like there’s more bread to cut and it’s more dense. I chop the bread up so it’s cut into one inch wedges, and then I break it down into smaller pieces (quarters or eights) with my fingers. This is great work for little kids, and my 8 year old likes to help.
Next, mix 2 cups of milk with 6 eggs. Whisk together, toss in a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon of mustard. That’s the magic ratio – 2 cups of milk to 6 eggs. We use this egg mixture as the base for our strata.
Now, this is the hardest part – you’ll want to grate your cheese. I use a wedge of cheese that’s slightly over half a pound (.6 ounces). My favorite cheese is a Ghedder and Guyere mix from Trader Joe’s. I shred a block and mix it with the egg and milk mixture.
Grab your casserole dish and butter it liberally. For this, I like using my 12″ Staub seasoned pan. It’s heavy and thick, and it’s a perfect fit for the strata. Here’s a similar Staub pan. It’s a pretty steep price, but I’ve had my pan for over 10 years. Conversely, you can also use a Pyrex casserole dish. I don’t have this one, but it looks amazing and I like that it has a lid. Perfect for stashing leftovers!
Last, toss your bread in! Add your chopped ham and arugula, and give everything a gentle stir to combine. I just use my hands and shift everything around.
Then gently pour your egg mixture over everything. Take a spoon fork or spoon, and gently push the bread that didn’t get covered under the egg, so that the majority of the bread is coated in your egg mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes at 375. Take out, let cool for 5 minutes, and enjoy!
A few additional notes…
- A few of these tools will make your job easier in the kitchen. Make sure you have a good knife for cutting the crusty bread! I have to use a serrated knife, similar to this. Also, a pastry brush is fabulous for spreading. I use a brush similar to this for spreading butter in the bottom of pans.
- My favorite cheese for this is Trader Joe’s Chedder and Gruyere. It’s creamy and rich and pairs perfectly with the ham and arugula. If you don’t have that on hand, you can try a combination of cheddar and Gruyere, or just cheddar! Swap it up, depending on what meat and veggies you’ll be including.
- The fun thing about this recipe is you can adjust the ingredients and make different combinations. One of my friends makes hers with cheese and broccoli! You can even do sausage or bacon for a breakfast vibe.
- What’s a strata?! That’s a good question. My friend told me she makes stratas for dinner, and I had to google what a strata is. Let me tell you, a dinner strata is clearly NOT this. Rather, it’s similar, but not quite, a frittata. Apparently a strata rises and resembles a soufflé more. Who knew?! Not me.
Monterey Jack and Ham Strata
- 9×12 casserole dish
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups whole millk
- .25 pound ham steak cubed
- 2.5 cups shredded mild chedder cheese
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 1 cup chopped kale
- 1 loaf bread
- pinch of salt
- Butter casserole dish, and set aside.
- Cube bread into half inch sections and place into a casserole dish.
- Toss bread with kale, using hands.
- Crack 6 eggs into a large bowl.
- Add 2 cups of milk with eggs and mix thoroughly.
- Add pinch of salt and mustard and stir.
- Gently fold in half the cheese into egg mixture.
- Pour egg mixture over bread.
- Add rest of cheese to preppared casserole.
- Gently stir bread pieces around to ensure bread is coated with egg mixture.
- Cook at 375 faranheit for 30-45 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes before eating.