Wednesday 19 December 2012

Savoury Croissant Bread Pudding With Andouille Sausage

My cousin Lyne and I were chatting about savoury bread puddings recently (she had just made her first and really enjoyed it) and I realized it had been a while since I'd made one myself.

Savoury bread puddings are a handy thing to know how to make.  They're good for any meal: breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner.  

Cut into individual portions, savoury bread puddings freeze well. When you're ready to use the portions, they can be thawed in the microwave, then crisped for a few minutes in the oven.  They're a good to keep on hand for rushed mornings or for days when you've forgotten to pack a lunch.

The day after I chatted with my cousin about her savoury bread pudding, my guy came home with a box of croissants from the day old rack at the grocery store.  I had a pound of cooked  andouille sausage in the freezer.  There were eggs and cheese in the fridge, and canned tomatoes on the pantry shelf.  Clearly it was time for me to make a bread pudding too!

We "taste tested" my savoury bread pudding for lunch the day I made it, pronounced it excellent, and put the leftovers in the freezer for another day.  We'll be reheating it for supper tonight and there will still be enough left to make a couple more lunches.  At this busy time of year, I'm especially glad to have it on hand.

To make Savoury Croissant Bread Pudding with Andouille Sausage, you'll need:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup diced bell pepper (I used red and yellow)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery 
  • 6 day old croissants, torn into pieces
  • 1 pint of tomatoes, drained (Reserve the juice. Break the tomatoes up into bite sized pieces.)
  • 1-1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, removed from its casing, crumbled, cooked and cooled
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • a generous grind of black pepper
  • the reserved juice from the tomatoes
  • approximately 2-1/2 cups fat free evaporated milk (You can substitute light cream or regular evaporated milk if you prefer them)

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and, once the pan is hot, add in the onion, bell pepper, and celery.  Saute the vegetables until they're tender crisp.  

Set them aside to cool.

When the vegetables have cooled put them in a large bowl and add in the croissants, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and andouille sausage.  

Use your hands to gently toss these ingredients together.

Crack the eggs into another bowl.  Add in the salt, mustard, and black pepper. Whisk the eggs until no distinct bits of white or yolk remain. 

Pour the reserved tomato juice into a large measuring cup and add enough evaporated milk to make three cups liquid in total.

Stir the evaporated milk mixture into the egg until it's completely incorporated.

Spread the bread mixture evenly in an oiled or buttered 10 x 15 baking dish and pour the egg mixture over it.  

(You could probably make this in a 9 x 13 pan too but I find that a more shallow layer cooks more quickly and evenly.)

Bake the pudding on the middle rack of a 350F oven for about an hour.  

Begin checking on your baking bread pudding at 45 minutes.  It's done when a knife inserted in the center of the pudding comes out clean.

Served straight from the oven, with a vegetable side dish or two, this savoury pudding makes a hearty, satisfying meal.  

Savoury Croissant Bread Pudding with Andouille Sausage would make an excellent  breakfast or brunch on Christmas morning.  You could prepare the bread and egg mixtures the night before, storing them separately in the refrigerator.  In the morning, you would spread the bread mixture in a prepared baking dish, give the egg mixture a stir, pour it over the bread mixture, and pop the pan in the oven.  

To freeze your bread pudding, cut it into individual servings and place the pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet.  When the pieces are frozen remove them from the baking sheet and package them in a freezer bag.

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