Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Bread Pudding
Unlike many of my friends, I didn’t grow up eating mushy boiled brussels sprouts. In fact, I didn’t officially meet brussels sprouts until my twenties, and then it was love at first bite.The year was 2003, and my husband and I had just moved to London, into a small apartment right above Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill. Several days a week, the streets below would blossom with fruit and vegetable stalls, their makeshift tents and barrels of delicious treasures spilling out onto the road. Our first year there was also our first time living in the Northern Hemisphere, and every season bought new surprises. For our first Christmas, we hosted an “orphan’s lunch” featuring a motley crew of expats and displaced souls looking for that feeling of family far away from home. My husband roasted an unfamiliar bird (it may have been pheasant), and we dined on celery root soup and roasted brussels sprouts. From that moment on, and for every ensuing Christmas we spent in London, I vowed that brussels sprouts would always be on my holiday menu.Our brussels-sprouts-for-Christmas pledge hit a snag when we returned home to Australia to realize that December (our summer) was not the season for brussels sprouts down under. It was back to seafood lunches, cold ham, and salads for the holidays. And while we could find cold-storage brussels sprouts at larger supermarkets, it never felt quite right tucking into a plate of hot roasted sprouts while sweat collected on our brows.When we moved to New York, there was great comfort in being reunited with the holiday food we fell in love with years earlier. It was also a relief to be able to turn on the oven to prepare our Christmas feast. This Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Bread Pudding is one of the crowd-pleasing mains we consistently serve during the holidays. I started making it a few years ago as a hybrid recipe, inspired by the bread puddings we ate for dessert in Australia and the Thanksgiving stuffing that is served here in America. You can use any bread for this pudding, but I do adore the airiness of brioche.The best thing about this dish is that you can effortlessly prep ahead. I always put it together the night before, leave it in the fridge overnight, and then bake it the next day. There is definitely a skill in emerging from the holidays unscathed, and this recipe is a great one to have up your sleeve to give yourself a break when you need it most.