Sunday, November 22, 2015

Short, Sweet, and Savory Sausage Bread Pudding

Saturday - Yesterday I was resolved to bake multiple batches of cookies. Thursday evening I went to my tai chi class and was feeling pretty good.  I even had a positive mental attitude! So come Friday, bake I did.  Stand on my feet for 6 hours I did. Knocked out 4 different recipes I did. Knocked myself out in the process, but it was worth it. Mandarin Orange Cookies, Pine Nut Cookies, Peanut Butter Rebels (Wookie Cookies), and Paradise Cookies. Recipes, you say? Why yes, I got 'em, but I've got to gather the energy to type them up. You may have noticed I've missed posting to the blog here and there, and that's just part of the fibromyalgia, which I find pretty damn depressing. I look forward to my daily posts, and being limited in even that is infuriating.

I seem to be shopping for food every day, and I am finding that tiring and painful.  I am determined to prepare a "proper" Thanksgiving dinner for my family, "proper" requiring hours and hours of cooking and baking. In some ways, Thanksgiving is what I live for. My favorite cooking holiday of all, even though the big family gatherings are a thing of the past.  I used to cook for 20; now it is just five. People move away, people pass away, and couples divorce, fracturing the family dynamic. Still, I want every Thanksgiving dinner to be special, and this year involves both turkey and spiral-cut ham.  Stay tuned.

In the middle of all my planning, I had a brainstorm and proceeded to put together a recipe for a breakfast casserole that my husband insists on eating for dinner.  We used to call them "stratas" which tells you nothing, but I prefer to think of this as a savory bread pudding.  No matter what you call it, I think you will love it

Savory Sausage Bread Pudding

About 15 slices buttercrust bread, torn into smaller pieces (from a 20 oz. package)
1 pound roll of pork sausage (Jimmy Dean's, Tennessee Pride, Publix) - I used maple for this
1 large onion, chopped
canola oil
kosher salt
ground black pepper
sweet paprika
dried thyme
1 - 7 oz can chopped green chiles (fire roasted and peeled), drained

5 cups whole milk
8 eggs
Kosher salt
ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Crystal hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon maple syrup

1 pound shredded cheese (I used 8 oz. each of sharp cheddar and hot jalapeno & habanero jack cheeses)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put the bread pieces on a baking sheet and into the preheated oven for several minutes until the bread dries out, without toasting them.  Set the bread aside.

In a large skillet, heat a very small amount of canola oil and add the sausage.  Break the sausage apart as it brown, and about halfway through, add the chopped onions. salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme.  Cook until the sausage is done and the onions are well-softened. Stir in the drained chiles. Set the skillet aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs together. add the milk, salt, pepper, hot sauce and maple syrup and whisk until well-blended.

Grease or no-stick spray a large baking dish. Layer the ingredients in this order: one-third of the bread, then one-half of the sausage mixture, then one-third of the combined cheeses. Repeat one time, then add the last of the bread. Carefully pour the egg and milk mixture over the entire casserole, and finish with the remaining cheese and a sprinkle of paprika.  Bake for 60 - 75 minutes until the cheese is melted and the casserole is puffy. Check the internal temperature, which should read at least 125 degrees.

You can serve it immediately or at room temperature, plain, with more maple syrup, or some sour cream. So good. 

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