Dinner: September 7, 2014

red chard on black

The last few weeks have been… something. We’ve got the excitement of Julian’s entry into preschool, plus the countdown to the arrival of our newest “baby”, but also the stress of health concerns and a really difficult sleep regression. There’s a lot on our plates right now, and we are trying to manage it all by creating new schedules and building even more structure into our daily routines. I’ve always been a list-maker and meal planner, but now that I’m packing lunches for Julian, Mike, and myself as well as coming up with our weekly dinners, it’s critical.

Despite the heat, I find that I’ve been turning more and more to comfort food, to old, reliable dishes that I know I can get together with a minimum of fuss or mess, in a short amount of time on work/school nights. One-pot/one-pan meals are also key, and that’s where this savory bread pudding comes in. While there were multiple steps in the assembly (cooking the sausage, sauteing the chard), I cooked everything in the same iron skillet, which simplified cleanup. Here’s what I did:

sausage and chard bread pudding

I took about a pound of sweet Italian sausage out of its casing, and browned the crumbled sausage in the iron skillet with a pinch of red chile flakes. While that cooked, I mixed up a custard of half a dozen eggs, a cup each of whole milk and buttermilk, salt, pepper, and a pinch of Colman’s mustard powder. I added about 4 cups of cubed semolina bread to the custard and let it sit. When my sausage was done, I removed it with a slotted spoon and added it to the bowl with the soaking bread. My stemmed and torn chard leaves went into the iron skillet with a pinch of salt, and I cooked them in the rendered sausage fat until soft and wilted. While they cooked, I grated cheese – about a cup each of cheddar and a random hunk of an Alpine-style wheel that had been lurking in the cheese drawer. When the chard was ready, I squeezed out as much of the liquid as possible before transferring the leaves to the bread/sausage/custard bowl. I discarded the liquid left in the pan. I mixed the grated cheeses into the bread mixture, then tipped everything back into the iron skillet, grating a little extra cheese on top. It baked in a 400 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes. And it was so good.

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6 thoughts on “Dinner: September 7, 2014

  1. I am so sorry to hear about those sleep issues but you hit the nail on the head about the only way out is through. How right you are. Sending you strength, good vibes and sleep fairies for Mira.

    This, I must try this lovely pot of food! Yum, yum, yum

  2. I hope the sleep and health issues resolve soon. Congratulations to you and Mike on the new book. Very exciting!

    As for the recipe, it looks fantastic! My family loves Italian sausage and I think this meal will be a huge hit with my guys!

    Teresa

  3. I just left a comment and lost it because I had forgotten my WordPress password 😦
    I’m sorry to hear things have been so difficult. It sounds like your impulse to organize and build structure is helping you a lot though. I do the same thing when times are stressful. I know what you mean about comfort food too. As much as I love the seasonal bounty in summer, I think I am more inclined toward autumn/winter food. Congratulations to you and Mike on the book! That’s so exciting.

  4. Margit Van Schaick says:

    Getting enough sleep is, in my opinion, the key to resolving other issues, which are generally exacerbated by lack of sleep. So, good luck! Eating delicious meals like this one will also help. So happy for you about the book! And, Julian going to pre-school! So much happening. Again, try to get some rest.

  5. Christine says:

    I left a looong comment on your other post, because we’re doing a sleep regression too and man I feel you so hard. I hope things improve for Mira and you soon. Is there anyway someone can watch her on the weekend for a bit to give you a break (and time for a nap?)

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