It’s Roastin’ Time!
Fall is roasting season. Now that it is finally under 90° in our apartment (and is in fact rather 10° too cold for my comfort level most of the time) I can comfortably indulge in a little face-to-face time with my oven.
But here’s the thing: I love roasted vegetables. You’ve all heard it before, but roasting is like magic seasoning for almost any vegetable. Roasting makes veggies flavorful, sweet, nutty and rich. And it’s easy!
And if you aren’t into the whole peeling and dicing your own vegetables thing then consider buying prepared butternut squash or stir-fry vegetables at the grocery store. Sure you pay for the preparation, but it saves undo wear and tear on your knives and cutting boards at home!
My point is, you really have no valid excuse to not make some roasted vegetables tonight.
Everyone has their own favorite way to roast a vegetable, but personally I prefer the high heat for less time over lower heat for a long time unless we’re talking garlic. But that’s another story. Just toss your diced vegetables with olive oil and salt and roast at high heat (400º-450°) for 40 minutes to an hour, depending on how big the chunks are. Give ‘em a good stir about halfway through the cooking time to make sure they cook evenly.
So anyways, the other day in a sudden spasm of self-indulgence (and thanks to some inspiration provided by frugalfeeding http://frugalfeeding.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/roasted-celebration-squash-sweet-potato-and-spicy-sausage/), I roasted Hubby and me a whole butternut squash with a couple of yams, and some garlic (whole cloves, still in the skins). Then as if that weren’t decadent enough, I tossed in some cooked, sliced Andouille sausage for the last 15 minutes in the oven. Served with good crusty bread to spread all that delicious roasted garlic on, it made for a wonderful, comforting fall-weather dinner.
And then I had leftovers.
Oh did I have leftovers.
There’s no such thing as roasting “a little bit” of butternut squash.
So I made a savory bread pudding.
And this is the true subject of today’s post.
I love egg casseroles, almost as much as I love roasted veggies. They are quick to throw together, can use almost any combination of ingredients, are inexpensive to make, and the eftovers make perfect, quick meals.
I make them often.
I consider bread pudding a member of the egg casserole family, and if you’ve never made one well then, today is the day!
The magic combination I like for any bread pudding is 12 eggs, 1 cup of milk, and 6 cups of cubed stale bread.
(I say stale, but if you haven’t been saving your crusts for months or you don’t have last week’s dinner rolls working their way to moldy,
you can buy a loaf of fresh bread and use it. It’s just this is a great way to use up those dry, crumbly ends that no one wants to eat. The woman who taught me how to make bread pudding used to save the heels from all her bread in the freezer, then make a beautiful raisin bread pudding with them).
After that it’s entirely your choice what you want to mix into it! You can make it sweet with some sugar, raisins (or any other fruit, really) and a little cream for decadence.
Or you can make it savory and turn it into dinner!
For today’s bread pudding, I chose to use the leftover butternut squash and sausage from the other night, combined with lots and lots of mild cheddar cheese.
I also sautéed an onion until it was caramelized and tender.
So, whisk up a dozen (or so…there is nothing exact about a recipe like this!) eggs with some salt and pepper.
Then whisk in a cup of milk.
Then whisk in some herbs (dry or fresh), if you want.
I think I should have added some thyme to this…it would have been lovely!
Toss in your bread cubes
and stir it all up.
It’s good to let this mixture sit for a few minutes, so the bread gets ample opportunity to soak up the eggy goodness.
And if stuff looks a bit too dry (as in, the eggs aren’t getting nice and saturated), why, pour in another ½ cup of milk or so!
Stir that all together, and add the more delicate mix-ins (like the butternut squash, which is so tender it will fall apart if you mix it too enthusiastically).
Fold the mixture together gently with a spatula, then pour it all into a greased or oiled cake pan.
Cover the pan with foil, and bake at 350° for about 40-45 minutes, then uncover it and sprinkle on the reserved cheese. Bake the pudding for another 15 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted and turning brown. The pudding is done when a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
(Melted cheese stuck to the knife is okay, raw or runny egg is not!)
Let the pudding sit for at least 15 minutes before digging in.
Look at that cheese.
Come to mama!
Here’s the recipe for ya. Now, I need some time alone with my puddin’!
SAVORY BUTTERNUT SQUASH BREAD PUDDING
Makes 10-12 servings
3-4 c. roasted butternut squash
¼ lb. cooked sausage
1 medium onion, diced
6 cups hearty, crusty bread, cut into 1” cubes
1-1 ½ c. milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. diced mild cheddar, divided
Preheat oven to 350°and butter a 9”X13” cake pan.
In a skillet, sauté onion in oil over medium heat until caramelized and tender. Set aside.
Whisk eggs with salt, pepper and milk. Stir in cubed bread. Let this mixture sit, turning occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Stir in half of the cheese, the sausage and the sautéed onion and mix well. Stir in butternut squash very gently.
Pour this mixture into the prepared cake pan, cover with foil, and bake for about 45 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle on remaining cheese, and continue baking until pudding is cooked through and the cheese is melted and golden brown.
Allow to stand 15 minutes before serving.
Eat and be happy!