I’ve never figured out why bread puddings get such a bad rap. The same people who will eat an entire pan of stuffing turn up their noses at bread pudding when the only difference is that stuffing is made with broth and bread pudding made with milk and/or cream. Mind you, if one has had a bad bread pudding, i.e., soggy, flavorless, shoved full of poor quality ingredients, or one of the really old ones that was pretty much just stale bread mixed with milk, sugar and cinnamon and so on, it’s understandable that a person could be leery. But heck, who hasn’t had most everything good badly cooked at one time or another?
But a GOOD savory bread pudding? One that is filled with gooey cheese, cream and butter? Really… how can you go wrong with that? Especially if you also add slow caramelized onions, beef broth and red wine?
It’s already been made clear that I absolutely love French Onion Soup with this recipe for French Onion Soup Macaroni & Cheese. Just that the combo of flavors mentioned in the above paragraph is one of those practically perfect combinations. Other than Cheetos and Twinkies *sobs and has yet another mournful moment of silence for Twinkies*
This is one I have been making for years and even my bread pudding hating husband loves it when I make it. If you’re turned off by the idea of bread pudding, just call it a strata. Pretty much the same thing with interchangeable names. This is, as I alluded to above, dripping with gooey Swiss and Mozzarella cheese, a healthy portion of caramelized onions, red wine and beef broth. The loaf of French bread that is its base is almost an afterthought here lol.
So get rid of your food prejudices for one meal and give this a try. If you like all of the above, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed here. This is so far from good for you it’s not funny but as say, a once a year treat, it’s worth it. Just make the rest of the meal light or just make the bread pudding BE the meal.
Savory French Onion Bread Pudding
- 8 tablespoons butter, divided in half
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 large onions, sliced in half width wise then sliced into very thin half moons
- 1 can (about 14 ounces) beef broth
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 1 small loaf (about 6 to 9 ounces) good French bread
- 3 cups shredded Swiss cheese
- 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup shredded REAL Parmesan cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2 quart baking dish.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter along with the vegetable oil in a large deep pan. Add in the sliced onions and stir to coat them.
- Cover the pan, turn the heat to low and allow the onions to cook for about 10 minutes on very low heat, stirring occasionally, until limp and mostly cooked.
- Take the cover off of the pan, turn the heat up to just barely medium and continue to slowly cook the onions until they are a deep brown.
- Add the beef broth and the wine to the pan. Stir to mix, then turn heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been nicely soaked up by the “ungins” (as my dad used to call them)
- Meanwhile, take your French bread and cube it into bite sized pieces. Toss it into a large bowl.
- Whisk together the 3 eggs, the cream and the milk.
- When the onions are ready, toss them with the cubed bread.
- Pour in the cream/egg mixture and stir well.
- Toss the shredded cheese (not the Parmesan) into the mixture, stir it all well then let sit for about 10 minutes so the bread can soak up the cream. Melt the last 4 tablespoons butter.
- Pour all of the bread mixture into the prepared pan. Drizzle the melted butter over the top. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 350 degrees until the pudding is golden brown, puffy and when a knife is inserted in the middle, it comes out clean (other than cheese) and with no custardy mixture on it.
- Let sit for about ten minutes before trying to slice.