My New Year’s resolution probably should be to eat more vegetables or something like that, but I don’t enjoy setting myself up for failure.
Case in point, I chose to start a new year of Test Kitchens with this Taste of Home barbecue chicken and apple bread pudding. I feel as though the transition from holiday food to regular eating can be kind of rough, and this recipe seemed like a good gateway into rest-of-the-year food.
I followed the recipe exactly, but I think an easy variation you could make right at the start would be to bake your own cornbread, or use leftover cornbread that’s at the end of its useful life. I found baking the recommended box mix gave me a pretty weak cornbread that didn’t want to chunk up like I wanted it to. And, frankly, it’s just not as good as the from-scratch kind.
I also think you should err on the side of over-baking your bread if you’re making it yourself. (If you feel like I’m spending a lot of time on the cornbread, the original recipe does, too: There were notes at the bottom that suggested baking the cornbread early to save time or purchasing it from the store if you want to skip a step.)
Maybe you’re supposed to use canned chicken for this recipe, but that is a thing I couldn’t bring myself to do, so I tore up a rotisserie chicken instead.
I made this recipe over two days because of my work schedule. On the first day, I cooked and chunked the cornbread, then left it out on the counter loosely covered overnight; ripped up the chicken and covered it in barbecue sauce; and caramelized the onion and stored it separately.
I did it this way because I’d read a couple negative reviews that said the recipe got kind of soggy even when making it all in one day, so I didn’t want to push my luck.
Then the next morning, I cut up the apple, threw everything in the cornbread pan, and baked it for 35 minutes before topping it with more barbecue sauce and chives.
The finished product didn’t have many cornbread chunks—more like crumbs—and looked sort of like a breakfast casserole. It got a rave review from About editor Kelsey Davis, so I’d say this one is a keeper.
1 package (8 1/2 ounces) cornbread/muffin mix
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
2/3 cup barbecue sauce, divided
2 cups diced cooked chicken
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup half-and-half cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 small green apple, peeled and diced
1. Prepare cornbread according to package directions and bake using a greased and floured 8-inch square baking pan. Cool. Reduce oven setting to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir until softened. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until deep golden brown and caramelized, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Pour 1/4 cup barbecue sauce over chicken; toss to coat.
3. Cube cornbread. Microwave remaining butter, covered, on high until melted, about 30 seconds. Whisk in eggs, cream, salt and pepper. Add caramelized onions. Pour egg mixture over cornbread cubes. Add chicken, cheese and apple. Toss gently to combine.
4. Pour mixture into a greased 8-inch square or 1 1/2-quart baking dish; bake until bubbly and top is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Drizzle remaining barbecue sauce over bread pudding. Sprinkle with chives.
SOURCE: Taste of Home