Smoked Ham, Goat Cheese & Artichoke Strata

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By Shannon O'Donnell

Layne and Peggy Frehner are the Innkeepers at the Inn at Rooster Hill in Port Angeles, and they recently wrote in requesting some of my favorite BRUNCH recipes.  During my time at KNTV in the Bay Area, guest chefs from the top local restaurants were frequent guests on our morning variety show.  Ray Montalvo of Le Boulanger showcased this wonderful Smoked Ham and Artichoke Strata, and it was love at first taste for all of us at the station.  It's been in my weekend brunch rotation ever since, and if you give it a whirl, I'll bet you'll find it's a keeper, too.  Peggy and Layne, this one's for you!

SMOKED HAM, GOAT CHEESE & ARTICHOKE STRATA

Ingredients:
 
*  2 cups whole milk
*  1/4 cup olive oil
*  8 cups cubed sourdough bread
*  1 1/2 cups whipping cream
*  5 large eggs
*  1 T chopped garlic
*  1 1/2 tsp salt
*  3/4 tsp pepper
*  1/2 tsp nutmeg
*  12 oz soft fresh crumbled goat cheese
*  2 T chopped fresh sage
*  1 T chopped fresh thyme
*  1 T dry basil
*  12 oz chopped smoked ham
*  3 6.5 oz jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
*  1 cup grated fontina cheese
*  1 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
 
Directions:
 
1)  Butter a 13x9" glass dish.
2)  Whisk together oil and milk in a large bowl.  Stir in bread cubes and let soak until bread absorbs the liquid, about 10 minutes.
3)  In another bowl, whisk together cream, eggs, garlic and spices.  Stir in goat cheese and herbs to blend.
4)  Place 1/2 of the bread mixture in the prepared glass dish.  Top evenly with half the egg mixture, and half each of the ham, artichokes and cheeses.  Repeat layers with remaining ingredients.
5)  It's best to let the dish sit overnight, so ideally you would cover and chill.
6)  When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, and bake the strata uncovered for about an hour, until center is firm and it's golden brown.
 
Makes 8 servings.  (Don't even bother counting the calories!)

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About Shannon

Shannon

When she's not forecasting, Shannon O'Donnell enjoys putting together tasty, season-appropriate meals and goodies for her friends and family.

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