Savory Bread Pudding with Wild Mushrooms, Leeks & Kale

This recipe is for a delicious savory bread pudding with some yummy leeks, mushrooms, and farm bread all soaked in a whole milk, egg and cheese mixture, and then baked into a spongy decadent dish.

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I picked up this recipe from Williams Sonoma’s fall catalog, I had received their latest catalog and the images of pots and pans with delectable savory dishes were just mouthwatering. The savory bread pudding with wild mushrooms and bacon caught my eye  Savory Bread Pudding with Wild Mushrooms and Bacon.

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The recipe was meat-based, requiring 1/2 lb (225g of bacon).  I assumed bacon is what gave the pudding additional flavor and I had to figure out how to substitute that type of salty bacon flavor in my vegetarian bread pudding.  I asked Anjali what she thought would make a good substitute for bacon to which she said, “Mom, bacon has a very unique flavor, it’s salty, smoky, crunchy and hard to describe. I can’t think of any good substitute.”  Okay, I thought, what I have never tasted in my life I will not miss.

In my vegetarian version of mushroom and leek savory bread pudding I left out the bacon and instead added garlic, some cayenne pepper, and meaty kale leaves. Here is my vegetarian recipe for Savory Bread Pudding with Mushrooms and Leeks.

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Savory Bread Pudding with Mushrooms, Leeks and Kale.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. (225 g) country-style bread, preferably day-old
  • 3 leek stalks, white and light green portions, sliced in small rings
  • 1 lb. mixed wild or brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cups chopped kale or spinach
  • 8-10 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or paprika
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère, Comté, white cheddar or other firm cheese
  • 1//2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Freshly ground pepper
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • Olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).  Butter a 9-inch square pan that is deep or any other deep baking dish.

Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. In a saucepan melt 1 tbsp butter and toast the breadcrumbs for 2 minutes. Set aside.

In the same pan add 2 tbsp olive oil. Sauté garlic and leeks until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Next add cut mushrooms and kale and cook for 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add salt to taste, black pepper and paprika. Turn the stove off.

In a bowl whisk together cream, eggs and milk.  Add 1 cup Gruyère cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and mix in.

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Add the bread pieces to the vegetable mixture and toss together.  Next add the egg and cream mixture and toss together.  Taste and adjust for salt.

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Pour the bread mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle remainder of 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese over the bread mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour until the bread pudding is bubby and hot.  Remove the foil and continue cooking for 5 more minutes if you want to slightly brown the top of the savory bread pudding.

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Take out of oven and let it sit for 30 minutes for the cream mixture to settle.  Serve warm.

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