I love food. I love cooking, coming up with new recipes, making things work together that don't normally belong in the same dish. Bread pudding is normally a dessert. Sometimes it's a breakfast though. So what if I took it's breakfast side and took it four steps further and mixed pork sausage and cheddar cheese into the bread pudding? And then kicked up the dessert side with some caramelized bourbon apples? This my friends is the kind of insanity that either makes for Fat Boy Heaven or has my family ordering takeout from Papa Johns at the last minute on a Wednesday night. Fortunately for my taste buds, and you our faithful readers my madness worked once again, and we have success! My daughter didn't like the texture, but everyone else loved it, and even the leftovers disappeared quickly.
Savory Sausage and Cheddar Bread Pudding
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 pound country style pork sausage
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 Granny Smith apple, diced
- 2 ounces Bourbon
- 1 loaf (18 slices) white sandwich bread, crusts removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 to 1/2 cups (a little over 1/2 pound) grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups half-and-half
- Scant teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with butter.
- In a large sauté pan (preferably nonstick) over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add the sausage and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break the meat into small clumps, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a large mixing bowl, leaving the fat in the pan.
- Turn the heat down to medium, then add the onions and apples to the pan along with 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook the stirring constantly, until onions are soft and translucent and apples are browned, about 7-10 minutes. Add the brown sugar and stir until melted into butter. Deglaze with bourbon, scraping up any stuck bits off bottom of pan. Remove onions mixture to the mixing bowl with the sausage, along with the bread cubes, grated cheese and parsley. Toss well, then spread the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, salt and pepper.
- Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread mixture. Cover tightly with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about one hour, until puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately topped with syrup, honey, or hard sauce as desired.
- Note: The cook time is based on cooking the bread pudding directly out of the refrigerator. If it's left to sit out at room temperature before baking, check for doneness after 45 minutes.