I have the best friends. Really I do. Friends that get as excited about cooking and eating as I. Friends that even want to come over, turn some local ingredients into one hell of a brunch, then document the whole thing on camera. I mean how lucky am I. Oh, then there’s the fact that that friend also happens to be the best food photographer in Halifax, none other than baconandbaileys herself, Kelly Neil. Who else could make a regular Sunday brunch look so beautiful. So moody. So utterly perfect in all it’s messy imperfection. But my favourite part? She captured the story. A story of beautiful local ingredients – acorn squash, farm fresh eggs, Ratinaud‘s chorizo, Blue Harbour Urban Blue Cheese, and Jason Lynch‘s new Dijon. A story of the beauty and pleasure of food. A story of friendship. You see, Kelly and I used to know each other years ago, friends in a different life. It was food that brought us back together. So, while it may seem the dish is the star in our little Sunday brunch story, rather it plays a supporting role. It is our story. And I couldn’t be more excited to see where it takes us.
That’s not to say this squash, chorizo and blue cheese strata wasn’t amazing. It’s essentially breakfast’s answer to bread pudding. Rich, aromatic, sweet and savoury, it’s quite literally Fall in breakfast form. It’s the kind of dish that’s comforting on a crisp November morning; the perfect dish to gather friends around the table, coffee – or cocktails! – in hand.
Julia Child really nailed it when she said “People who Love to eat are always the best people”.
- 1 small or 1/2 large acorn squash, seeds removed, cut into wedges
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Ratinaud chorizo sausages, casings removed
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tbsp. Jason Lynch's Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp. chopped herbs: oregano, rosemary and\or sage
- 1 loaf rustic French bread, cubed or torn into pieces
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
- 4 oz. Urban Blue cheese, crumbled
- Preheat oven to 450. Place the squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until soft, about 20-30 min. You could also roast longer at a lower temperature if desired. Remove from oven and scrap off any charred bits. Scoop out the squash into a bowl. Lightly mash and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Reduce oven to 375. Butter a 9x13 baking dish.
- Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining olive oil. Fry the chorizo until just cooked, breaking it into smaller pieces. Set aside.
- Whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, dijon, and fresh herbs. Season with a pinch of both salt and pepper.
- In the baking dish, mix together the bread, squash, chorizo, and cheese. Pour the egg mixture over top. Press down the bread into the liquid. If using day old bread, feel free to refrigerate an hour or even overnight.
- Bake until the liquid is fully absorbed and the top golden brown, about 40 min. Serve immediately.