Bread pudding does not always have to be a buttery, cinnamon-spiced dessert (though those are very good). Savory bread puddings are just as helpful for using up leftover stale bread, and can be quite deluxe, depending on what goes in them. Bread pudding is comfort food, like macaroni and cheese or cornbread stuffing, and will fill you up, thanks to all the cream and eggs. It's also a great dish for using up odds and ends in the refrigerator.This version of a savory bread pudding has mushrooms, leeks, and swiss chard, along with some spinach and lots of parmesan cheese. It tastes best when you start with slightly stale crusty bread, like a 2 day old french baguette that's too tough to bite into. The cream and eggs soften the bread, yet the crust becomes nice and crispy in the oven.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: Serves 6-8 as a main dish.
- 1 pound stale crusty bread
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 bunch swiss chard
- 4 cups fresh spinach leaves
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 1 leek
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon aji panca chile pepper paste (optional)
- 1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 cups cream
- 6 eggs
- 2/3 cup parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut bread into 1 inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Peel and mince garlic, and place in a small microwave-proof bowl with 2 tablespoons butter. Microwave garlic and butter until the butter melts. Stir 1/4 cup olive oil into the butter, along with the garlic salt and paprika. Pour butter/oil mixture over bread cubes and toss the bread cubes well to mix.
- Spread the bread cubes out on a cookie sheet and place them in the oven. Toast bread cubes, stirring often, until golden brown and crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and return bread cubes to the large bowl.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add swiss chard and spinach leaves and boil for 1 minute. Drain greens in a colander, then squeeze dry with paper towels. Roll leaves up together tightly and slice crosswise. Set aside.
- Remove the outer leaves from the leek, then thinly slice the white and light green parts crosswise. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced leek and mushrooms to the skillet. Add the aji panca (if using) and the Worcestershire sauce. Cook over low to medium heat until mushrooms are browned. all liquid has evaporated, and leeks are very soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Add swiss chard and spinach to the skillet, stir quickly, then remove from heat. Taste for seasoning and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add vegetables to the bread cubes.
- Whisk eggs and 1/3 cup parmesan cheese into the cream. Pour mixture over the bread cubes and toss to mix. Spread bread cube and vegetable mixture into a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup parmesan cheese on top.
- Place casserole in the oven and bake until heated through, about 20-25 minutes. Serve warrm.