When I saw Chef Michael Symon make this dish on The Chew, I wasn’t liking it. Once I got past the fact there is no sugar in the “bread pudding” part, I realized it was more like stuffing than bread pudding. But since it was another way to make a cheeseburger dish, I wanted to try it. I’ve made cheeseburger salad and cheeseburger soup, why not cheeseburger bread pudding? Time for a new adventure on Ground Beef Week!
I made this recipe in steps. The day before I fried the ground beef until it was browned in places. Chef Symon is a big proponent of the “flavor in the brown” when cooking meats. I refrigerated the browned beef overnight.
Next I diced some thick cut bacon and fried it until it was almost browned, then added about 1/2 cup of chopped onion. I continued frying until the bacon was browned and the onions were translucent and browning around the edges. I drained it and refrigerated it overnight as well.
The next day I chose Ball Park brand golden hamburger buns to use instead of potato buns. It’s what I had on hand and what my P.S. sells. I tore 6 buns up, assuming the potato buns were probably larger than the buns I was using. And I wanted to use the last 6 buns up that I had.
I drizzled the torn buns with olive oil and tossed with my hand to coat all of the pieces with oil. I spread the pieces on a half sheet pan and put it in the oven at 375°F for 15 minutes to toast. I turned them after about 10 minutes to allow them to more evenly brown.
Bread toasted, I placed it in a bowl with the ground beef, onions, and bacon pieces. I mixed well and layered half of the mixture into my prepared 9×13-in pan.
I layered 1 1/2 cups of cheese into the pan next, followed by the remaining bread and meats mixture. The remaining cheese went on top and I was ready for my custard.
I whisked the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together and poured them over the bread pudding. I pressed down to make sure it was all covered and coated and let the pan stand for 30 minutes to soak up the liquid.
The bread pudding went into preheated oven and I set the timer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I used a knife to cut into the center to make sure the custard was set and removed the pan from the oven.
I let the bread pudding set for 10 minutes as directed and cut it into pieces. I served it for dinner with my favorite green beans. It was an unusual but very good dish! I’d thought it would resemble stuffing but this was really more like an egg bake with ground beef. Whatever you call it, it was satisfying and delicious.
I didn’t put the diced pickles on top for garnish, preferring to use diced tomato. Tomatoes seemed to fit better with the cheeseburger theme. My P.S., not knowing pickles were suggested, said he would have liked to have some diced pickles on top of the bread pudding. Ha. Busted. I told him he could find his own pickles in the fridge in he wanted some. But he liked it without the pickles and decided to forgo them this time.
Cheeseburger Bread Pudding
4 potato buns; torn into pieces (I used 6 smaller Ball Park Golden Buns)
1/2 pound thick sliced bacon; diced (about 6 strips)
1 pound ground beef
1 medium red onion; diced ( used a white onion)
2 1/2 cups sharp cheddar; shredded (I used a white cheddar)
6 large eggs
2 cups milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon of each)
1/2 cup pickles or diced tomatoes to garnish
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 9×13-in baking dish with cooking spray.
Place torn bread on a sheet pan in an even layer. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Toast for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Stir halfway through cooking. Remove from the oven and place torn bread into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
In the meantime, in a large skillet pan over medium high heat, add bacon. Add the onions and cook the onions begin to soften and the bacon is browned and crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
To the same pan, add the ground beef. Cook, breaking up the meat with the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes until meat is browned.
Pour the bacon, onions and ground beef over the toasted bread. Toss to combine.
Add half of the bread mixture to the prepared pan. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese evenly over the top. Add the other half of the bread mixture to the top. Top with remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the custard over the bread and press down. You may wrap the dish tightly in plastic and refrigerate overnight at this point. Let stand for 30 minutes before baking.
Bake, uncovered for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to set for 10 minutes for serving. Garnish with pickles or tomatoes on top.
– Substitute buns with any leftover bread or buns.
– The bread pudding may be made the night before. Bring to room temperature just before baking.
Adapted from Michael Symon on The Chew