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Roasted Fennel, Sausage & Apple Bread Pudding

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Serves eight to ten.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 30

This savory combination of autumn ingredients makes a terrific side dish for turkey, or it can be a delicious supper or brunch on its own.

  • 8 cups thinly sliced fennel (about 4 medium bulbs)
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1-1/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 2 Tbs. butter (to use only if sausage yields no drippings) plus 2 tsp. for coating the baking dish
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
  • 9 oz. peasant or sourdough bread, stale or oven-dried, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
Tip:
Oven-Dried Bread: Use Good-quality peasant, sourdough, or other hearty bread, sliced 3/4 inch thick. Heat the oven to 300°F. Spread the bread slices directly on the oven rack and bake until crisp all the way through (most of the moisture in the bread will be evaporated) and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 425°F. Toss the fennel with 3 Tbs. of the oil and season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Line a baking sheet with kitchen parchment or foil. Spread the fennel mixture over the baking sheet. Bake until the fennel is soft and caramelized, turning once, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble the sausage into the skillet and cook until browned, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Reserve 2 Tbs. of the drippings. (If there are no drippings, substitute 2 Tbs. butter).

Heat the 2 Tbs. drippings or butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the apple and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook until the apple is tender and golden brown on both sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove, add to the sausage; mix in the roasted fennel.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, apple cider, eggs, egg yolks, sage, and the remaining 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper/ Fold in the bread and the sausage mixture. Let sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to saturate the bread.  

Brush a 2-qt. (or 9x13 inch) baking dish evenly with the remaining 2 tsp. butter. Pour the bread mixture into the baking dish, distributing the ingredients evenly. Bake in the hot oven until lightly browned and firm, 40 to 45 minutes.

Serving Suggestions

A roasted fennel, sausage, and apple bread pudding has all the ingredients to make a complete main dish. Serve it with a mixed green salad.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on ten servings; Calories (kcal): 370; Fat (g): fat g 23; Fat Calories (kcal): 210; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 9; Protein (g): protein g 10; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 30; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 610; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 140; Fiber (g): fiber g 4;

Photo: Rita Maas

This was absolutely delicious!!! Every guest loved it and I decided I will no longer stuff my turkey, but serve this bread pudding with it instead. My brother is doing his first Thanksgiving and I am sending him this recipe. Thanks ladies.

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