Friday, February 22, 2013

Leek and Mushroom Bread Pudding

This was the one dish I really regretted not sharing last winter, but once spring came around it just didn't seem like the right time to post it. This year I realized if I wanted to share it I would have to get it posted by the end of February or it would once again be too late. So, I am sneaking it in at the last minute. I know there will still be plenty of cold days for a hearty warm dish like this one here in Fairbanks. They rest of you preparing for spring (not fair), you'll have to save it for next fall.
I have been making leek bread pudding for a little over a year now. There have been many recipes and adaptations that I have almost posted, but then changed my mind at the last minute. To be honest, they were all really good and any of them would be worthy of posting here. Yet, somehow I knew that there must be something a little better out there. One of the biggest problems was that most of the recipes I made were so heavy. Really, they were a meal themselves, not a side item. This one probably won't be making the next issue of Cooking Light, but it is much lighter than some of the others I have tried.
Leek bread pudding makes a great side item for a roast chicken dinner, but it can also be served as a savory breakfast dish. In fact this pan ended up being breakfast, lunch, and dinner over the course of several days. If you are a fan of Thanksgiving stuffing, you will love this dish.
Also, if you feel like this dish is still a little too heavy handed with the calories, you can swap out some (or all) of the milk, or half and half for veggie broth. Although I have not done it with this recipe specifically, I have done it with other similar ones with great success. It transitions the dish from bread pudding to more of a baked stuffing, but the wonderful flavors still remain. Also, almost all of the leek bread pudding recipes I have found call for Gruyère, which is a wonderful cheese. I don't know about where you live, but here in Fairbanks it is really expensive, almost twice the price of swiss. It's a nice splurge, but with all the other flavors going on in this recipe I don't really find it necessary to use such an expensive cheese. I have tried all three cheeses mentioned in the recipe with great results and nearly undetectable difference.

Amazon.com
Leek and Mushroom Bread Pudding
adapted from More from Macrina

1 loaf hearty white bread, day old, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
2 medium leeks, sliced thin
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 large mushrooms (cremini or white), sliced thin
1 cup whole milk
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
5 ounces (about 2 cups) grated cheese (Gruyère, Baby Swiss, or Emmenthaler are best)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line one large baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease or spray with cooking spray a 7x11 inch baking pan. Spread the bread cubes in one even layer on the baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 10-12 minutes until dry and light brown along the edges. Set aside.
Increase oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks when the oil is hot. Saute' leeks until they are lightly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
Add the final 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and add the mushrooms when the oil is hot. Saute' the mushrooms for 5-8 minutes. When the mushrooms become golden brown transfer them to the bowl with the leeks to cool.
Whisk together the milk, half and half, parsley, eggs, egg yolks, and salt in a medium bowl or large measuring cup.
In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with melted butter. Stir in the leeks, mushrooms, and cheese. Spread mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish. Do not push down or pack the bread into the dish, it will be heaped over the top of the dish. Pour the milk mixture over the bread, trying to coat all parts of the dish. Cover with aluminum foil and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Place the covered baking dish on a baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Check to see if the pudding is set, if still liquid bake for 10 minutes longer. When everything has set up, remove the foil and return to the oven for another 20 minutes to brown the cheese and bread on top. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.

6 comments:

  1. This sounds soooo good. I know I wouldn't be able to get the guys in my house to eat it however, so maybe I'll just cut the recipe in half and have it for MY lunch a couple of days in a row.

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  2. Love this savory version of a bread pudding. Leek and mushrooms what a winning combination.

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  3. Mmmm, this sounds delicious, like the perfect winter comfort food!

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  4. The flavour combinations in this recipe are fantastic! I just love mushrooms and leek together. Thanks for sharing!!

    -Shannon

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  5. Merry Christmas. I made this for Christmas breakfast at church this morning. When I told everyone this recipe is from Nicole, Alaska, they were surprised! it was so delicious and I have always made sweet bread pudding never the savoury type. Thanks for sharing Nicole, we in Malaysia had a taste of a different type of pudding! in Kuala Lumpur, it is raining every day due to the monsoon season... this pudding fits into our menu well! Have a wonderful blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!

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