Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding

In my childhood home, our holidays were vegetarian affairs, much to the shock of my Ohio suburban friends. Even now after embracing an omnivorous life, the turkey centerpiece of the traditional holiday meal isn’t what I look forward to most about the meal. The vegetable sides are where the action is in my opinion and this recipe is one of my favorites. I make this over and over again during the fall abundance of squash and hardy greens. Most of the ingredients are things we always have on hand at this time of year. There are enough veggies in here to feel virtuous but plenty of richness to make it at home on a holiday table. And this is even better the next day especially paired with a glass of Farnham Hill dry cider. This feeds a crowd so consider having it on your holiday table this year.

Made with: Honey Nut butternut squash, Rainbow chard, and Ambition shallots.

Adapted from Bon Appetit November 2009

 Ingredients

  • 2 pounds peeled seeded butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt plus additional for sprinkling
  • 7 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 day-old baguette (do not remove crust), torn into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped shallots (about 4 large)
  • 2 bunches Rainbow chard (about 1 pound), ribs removed, coarsely chopped
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt; bake until squash is tender, turning with spatula occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Whisk eggs in large bowl. Add milk, wine, mustard, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt; whisk to blend. Add baguette pieces; fold gently into egg mixture. Let soak 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add chard; cover and cook 2 minutes. Uncover and stir until chard is wilted but still bright green, about 5 minutes.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Generously butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Using slotted spoon, transfer half of bread from egg mixture to prepared baking dish, arranging to cover most of dish. Spoon half of chard over bread. Spoon half of squash over bread and chard; sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, chard, squash, and cheese. Pour remaining egg mixture over bread pudding.
  • Cover bread pudding with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered until custard is set and bread feels springy to touch, about 20 minutes longer.
  • Preheat broiler; broil pudding until cheese browns slightly, about 2 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and serve.
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