Sausage and Cauliflower Bread Pudding

By Claire Thomson From the book The Five O'Clock Apron
Sausage and Cauliflower Bread Pudding

Bread and butter pudding, but with sausages and cauliflower. Savoury bread puddings are a wonder. Omit the sausage and add mushrooms if you like.

For how many? Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp picked fresh thyme leaves (keep the stalks)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 100ml pouring cream
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 fat sausages or 6 smaller ones (Toulouse are nice)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 350g crusty white bread, 2–3 days old, roughly sliced and each slice cut into 3
  • ½ a radicchio, roughly sliced (optional)
  • 60g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.

2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil with the bay leaves, fennel seeds, reserved thyme stalks and a good pinch of salt – you need enough water to cover and cook the cauliflower, and for the final quantity of water to total at least 400ml. 

3. Add the cauliflower to the water and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and reserve the herby cauliflower water to make the sauce – the fennel seeds are fine left in. Extract the thyme stalks and bay leaves. Set aside the cooked florets.

4. Return the pan to the heat. Over a moderate heat, melt the butter, add the flour, combine and stir for a couple of minutes (the resulting paste is called a roux).

5. Add 400ml of the hot herby cauliflower water gradually to the roux and whisk vigorously each time to ensure no lumps form before adding more. Turn down the heat and cook the sauce for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce has thickened and is the consistency of double cream.

6. Add the cream, vinegar and Dijon mustard and add salt and pepper to taste.

7. Meanwhile, squeeze out the meat from the sausages. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a moderate heat. When hot, add the sausage meat and fry for 3 minutes, until roughly broken up and browning in places. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Add the pieces of bread and the thyme leaves and give it all a good stir over a low heat for another 2 minutes. Take off the heat, add the cooked cauliflower pieces and the radicchio (if using), and give it another thorough mix.

8. To assemble the pudding, spread the contents of the pan in a large (approx. 28 x 20cm) baking dish in one even layer. Pour the sauce over the top then sprinkle over the Parmesan.

9. Cook in the oven for 40–45 minutes, until bubbling and with some of the bread on the top going crisp and golden brown.

10.Serve with a great big green salad.

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