Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cheesy Venison Sausage Strata

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venison strata recipe

Along with our company that came to visit a couple of weeks ago came a delivery of venison from Da, and we've been eating venison like it's going out of style ever since. We've got to get tired of it soon, don't we? You'd think. I have a feeling, though, that we might run out before we actually get sick of the stuff.

Somehow I've managed to keep things quite fresh with all of this venison eating. In the last week or two we've had it pan-fried, grilled and even
slow cooked. All of those dinners were made with ground venison, venison steaks or venison roasts - all variations we've had before.

Tonight, though, I pulled out a package I'll admit I was a bit hesitant to cook: venison sausage.

I know I've told you that before I don't do sausage. There's something about the flavor that I just can't stomach. I've tried all kinds, too, but I'm not a fan. So I don't really know why I planned to make venison sausage for dinner. I guess I figured Da sent it and I should show my appreciation and give it a try.

The husband was outside mowing the lawn while I started cooking dinner. He came in while I was browning the meat and asked how it was going.

I told him I didn't like the way it smelled.

But I kept cooking. I got the rest of the strata together and threw it in the oven. While Stella and I peeked at the dish in the oven, the husband asked what I thought.

I said I was nervous. If dinner tasted awful, I had no idea what else I was going to eat.

After almost 40 minutes, it was time to take the strata out of the oven. The warm cheese melted into all of the layers and look delicious, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't dying to nibble on the few toasted bread cubes I could see poking out around the edges.

I placed a square on each of our plates and waited for the husband try it first. He assured me I'd like it; he said the venison didn't taste anything like the breakfast sausage I always tell him I hate.

The man wasn't lying! This was a great dish. I didn't taste the eggs very much, possibly because I doubled the meat, but the baked bread, cheese and venison made for a very filling meal unlike anything we've had before.

When we were finished I asked the husband what he thought overall and if he'd eat this again.

"Yeah, I would," he said. "But I know you're never going to make it again. Where are we ever going to find more venison sausage?"

venison sausage recipe

Cheesy Venison Sausage Strata

8 ounces venison sausage
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
5 slices (or 2 1/2 cups cubed) stale sugar-free wheat bread
1/2 cup shredded habanero cheese (or whatever you prefer)
2 eggs
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
about 1/4 teaspoon salt
parsley, to taste

Brown the venison in a skillet with the peppers, onions and garlic salt. Drain the meat.

Place the stale bread cubes in the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish. (I didn't spray our dish, but you may want to. The bread stuck in a few spots.) Spread the venison mixture on top of the bread cubes, then sprinkle with cheese. 

Whisk the eggs, milks, salt and parsley together in a small bowl. Pour the egg mixture over the venison, bread and cheese layers.

Let the strata rest for about 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Bake the strata, uncovered, for 35-45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Keep an eye on the dish and feel free to cover with a little foil if it starts to brown more than you'd like. (The husband and I don't mind burned pieces, so we left ours uncovered the entire time.)

Remove the strata from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing into squares and serving. (You don't have to let it rest, but it'll stay together better if you do!)


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