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Cheese & Onion Bread Pudding
This is a more interesting vegetarian dish than it might sound.
A lot depends on the quality of Cheddar used – this should be of the Extra Mature Farmhouse type or perhaps Canadian Cheddar. Mild Cheddar, even if you prefer in normally, will produce a dish with no character; and don’t be tempted to use dried Parmesan.
Good Herbes de Provence, with lavender and possibly green anise, will make all the difference. These are available online from www.gourmetherbs.co.uk
For 4 generous helpings:
60gr/2 oz Butter
3 medium Onions, peeled and thinly-sliced
1 teaspoon (5ml) Herbes de Provence; or a little less Dried Mixed Herbs
2 medium cloves Garlic, peeled and finely-chopped
60gr/2 oz freshly-grated Parmesan Cheese
180gr/6 oz Mature Cheddar Cheese, grated (see above)
A small handful Fresh Chives, chopped
10 slices of sliced bread - use either white or wholemeal - with the crusts removed
3 medium Eggs, lightly beaten
500ml/1 pint Milk
A few grates of freshly-grated Nutmeg
A little salt and some freshly-grated Black Pepper.
Needed: a lasagne/shepherds pie-style oven proof dish
1. Lightly butter your chosen oven proof dish.
2. Melt the remaining butter over a low heat in a large frying pan.
3. Add the onions and ‘sweat’ them for about 10 minutes, until they are translucent but not brown.
4. Add the chopped garlic and dried herbs and cook for a further minute. Then remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
5. Mix the cheeses and the chopped chives in with the onions.
6. Heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4.
7. Cover the base of the oven proof dish with some of the bread.
8. Cover this with half the cheese, then repeat.
9. Mix together the milk, eggs and grated nutmeg – plus a little salt plus a few generous grinds of black pepper – baring in mind that the cheese is already salty.
10. Bake in the middle of the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes.
Serve, possibly with a side salad or simple green vegetable.