Ham, Cheddar, and Red Onion Bread Pudding

I saw this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs awhile ago and immediately printed it out to go in “the pile”  With the weather changing from warm and sunshine to cool and rainy this week it was the perfect time to try new warm yummy comfort food. Initially I thought this was going to be a bit involved but once I dug in it went surprisingly smoothly. I even added extra items that I didn’t need to and it was still simple (somehow I had printed out “ground mustard” instead of “ground nutmeg”, obviously not a big deal 😛 )

I did learn something fun, my Chefs Basting Brush fits into the cap of my canola oil bottle, thus eliminating the ever so popular small bowls that are constantly monopolized by my daughter. I brushed the bottom and sides of my Deep Covered Baker with oil and then dived into the real fun.

I think that with a bread pudding the idea should be to use whatever type of bread is lurking in your pantry, for me it was part of a loaf of lovely sourdough and two hot dog buns. I think that got be in the general vicinity of 12 oz of bread. I whisked together the egg, milk, mustard and mustard….oh, I mean nutmeg. I did add dried mustard before I realized my typing error, however it didn’t seem to affect the flavor so no harm done.

Now I was down to my last two items, my onion and my apple. This was a job for my super-star cutter, the Simple Slicer. I needed 1/4 slices which is pretty darn close to the #3 setting. I’m going to give some instructions for those who have this tool and may not understand the time it can save you.

First, The apple. I simple cut it in half and removed the core with a knife (I do not yet have an apple corer, it’s on the list though) Then I laid half of the apple skin side up and simple pushed the food holder down on it. I then sliced it with the Simple Slicer on the largest setting (#3) It slices like a dream and I had uniform slices in no time flat. I sliced them in half to form wedges.

I then chopped the top and bottom off the onion, removed the outer skin and pushed the food holder down on the entire onion. make sure when you are chopping the top and bottom of veggies you have them fairly flat so that it will sit straight on the slicer. I finished with the onion in a few seconds. I also use this setting when I make soups and stews for carrots, potatoes, celery, really anything that I want cut evenly and quickly.

I mixed everything together and popped it in the oven.

It took me longer to cook this than stated which could be due to the fact that I wasn’t too careful measuring my liquids and as I stated I just used all the random bread I had in the house. I would say it was close to 1 1/2 hours before a toothpick came out clean, I did have to cover it for a bit as the top started to get too brown. Next time I will measure my liquids, I promise.

The result was moist in the middle but nice and crunchy on the top and sides, the ham on top was like crispy bacon. I thought the apples did a great job balancing the red onions with their sweetness. This one is going in the book and next time I think I will add some mushrooms. You could really add almost anything and it would be fabulous

Ham, Cheddar, and Red Onion Bread Pudding

Cooks Note: This would be great with mushrooms and celery as well, I would cook them a bit in a frying pan, drain, then add them to the mix.

I left my apples in pretty big slices so you did have to cut a bit when eating. If you didn’t want it to be so “rustic” I would suggest cutting them in smaller pieces (but not too small, remember apples shrink when baked)

oil for the dish
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (I used fat-free and added a dollop of yogurt to thicken it a bit)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
kosher salt & pepper
1 (12 oz) loaf French or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch pieces (Really you can use whatever you have on hand)
1 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick wedges
1 crisp red apple, cut into 1/4-inch thick wedges
4 oz sliced ham, torn into 2-inch pieces
4 oz sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 350F. Oil a 2 1/2 to 3 quart baking dish and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Add the bread and allow to sit, tossing occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Fold the onion, apple, ham, and cheese into the bread mixture. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake until set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean (cover with foil if it browns too quickly), 45-50 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrients per serving: Calories 339.2, Total Fat 11.6 g, Sat Fat 5.5 g, Cholesterol 151.6 mg, Carbohydrate 38.6 g, Protein 19.1 g, Sodium 808 mg, Fiber 2.8g Sugars 5.1 g Potassium 348.2 mg