Gorgonzola Bread Pudding With Sausage & Apples
by Molly McCook, Chef, Ellerbe Fine Foods, Fort Worth, Texas
- 1 pound Smart Chicken Sweet Italian Sausage, casings removed
- 12 ounces torn French bread, crust removed
- 1 medium onion, diced small (approximately 1 cup)
- 4 gala apples, diced large (approximately 4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
- Zest of ½ lemon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 6 whole eggs, beaten
- 3 cups half and half
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 1 pound gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Place the torn bread on a sheet tray and let sit out, uncovered, overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Brown the sausage in a sauté pan over high heat. Break the sausage into bite-sized pieces as it cooks. Drain any excess fat off and discard. Place the sausage in a large bowl. In a medium sauté pan, melt the butter and sauté the onions, apples, and salt over high heat until they begin to brown on the edges. Add the herbs and lemon zest and sauté an additional 30 seconds. Add the mixture to the sausage as well as the bread and pinch of black pepper.
In a small saucepot, bring the half and half and bay leaves to a boil, then remove from heat. Discard the bay leaves. In a separate bowl, place the beaten eggs and slowly add the hot half and half while continually whisking. Add the crumbled gorgonzola to the egg mixture and stir.
Pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture and gently toss to coat.
Transfer the bread pudding to a greased 3-quart baking dish. Bake in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until the bread pudding is firm to the touch and has begun to brown on the edges and top.