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BRUNCH WEEK: SAVORY BACON AND CHEESE BREAD PUDDING

Brunch -- that magical meal that combines breakfast and lunch -- is one of the best excuses to sit around and lazily enjoy a weekend morning. This week, we'll share new recipes for your next brunch gathering. This one comes from the new "Bubby's Brunch Cookbook," which includes recipes from the famous New York comfort food restaurant.

INGREDIENTS

One 1-pound loaf crusty white bread

12 oz. slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 large garlic glove, chopped

1 cup coarsely diced onions

6 extra large eggs

3 1/2 cups heavy cream

3 cups grated sharp white Cheddar cheese (12 oz.)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the bread into cubes and pace the cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes until just barely toasted. Remove the bread cubes from the oven and set aside.

Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until very crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Reserve two tablespoons of the bacon fat and discard the rest. Add the butter to the bacon fat in the skillet and saute the garlic and onions for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Whisk the eggs and cream in a large mixing bowl. Add the bread cubes, bacon, garlic and onions and 2 cups of the Cheddar cheese. Whisk in the salt, pepper and parsley.

Butter a 9x13x2-inch baking pan. Pour the mixture into the pan and sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 cup Cheddar cheese. Bake for 45 minutes or until firm and brown. Serves six to eight.

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