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Sorry about the lack of posts yesterday! I don’t know about you but my mind is still in holiday mode. This week has been slow and grueling! If only every work week was 3 days long… le sigh.

I’ve talked about it before, but every holiday my dad and I compete for best dish given a particular ingredient. This Thanksgiving we decided onnn…

…Pancetta!

I had the exact recipe picked out. I saw this bread pudding recipe on A Cozy Kitchen a few weeks ago and decided pancetta would be the perfect ingredient for the competition. Naturally, my dad came up with his own recipe and pretty much won (although I think it was a tie… right, dad? :)). It’s difficult competing with Pancetta cups filled with sauteed mushrooms and cheese. Geeeeeeze were those good. I don’t even like mushrooms! My dad is a genius in the kitchen.

Dad’s Pancetta Cups with Sauteed Mushrooms

While the pancetta cups were delicious, this bread pudding was also pretty fantastic. Cheesy with a great onion flavor and a hint of sweetness from the challah and apples. All around this dish was wonderful. If you’re looking for a good stuffing recipe for the Christmas dinner, this bread pudding would be an awesome substitute. I’ll definitely be making it again!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving… Β now let’s hope this holiday fog I’m in somewhat dissipates between now and Christmas! The holiday music and Christmas trees on every corner aren’t helping much though! Looks like productivity will be at a minimum!

Pancetta, Leek, and Apple Bread Pudding (adapted from here)

Ingredients

6 1/4 cups challah, in 1″ cubes
1/4 lb pancetta
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 cup leeks (white and light green parts only), rinsed and cut in 1/2 “thick slices
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Fine-grain sea salt
1 Granny Smith apple, diced
1 Tbsp. fresh sage, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Grated nutmeg
1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese (or Gruyere)

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan and set aside.

Place the cubed challah on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

While the bread is toasting, place a large saute pan over medium-high heat and cook the pancetta for about 5 minutes or until crisp (be sure to occasionally stir it around!). Once the pancetta is crispy, remove it from the pan and place it on a plate lined with paper towels.

Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the leeks and onions. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until they are somewhat translucent. Add the butter, a pinch of salt, and the apples. Cook until the apples are tender and the onions and leeks are completely translucent. Add the sage and thyme and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Next, add the pancetta back to the pan and mix it with the vegetable mixture. Β Sprinkle the mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.

Once the bread is done toasting, add the bread to the vegetable mixture. Toss until combined. (You can do this in two batches if your saute pan isn’t large enough).

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg and egg yolk together. Next, add the cream and milk, 1 tsp. of salt, 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Whisk until combined.

To build the bread pudding, had half of the bread mixture to the loaf pan. Sprinkle half of the cheese on top. Add the second half of the bread mixture then sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Pour milk and egg mixture over the bread until it is completely covered. Lightly press on the bread to soak the dish in the milk mixture. Let it sit for 15 minutes then pour the rest of the milk mixture into the dish. Sprinkle with salt and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Let it sit for an hour in order for the pudding to come out in slices (you can reheat it to serve it warm). If you want to serve it right away, it won’t come out in slices but it will be equally delicious. You choose! Serve warm and enjoy!

Natalie

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