Use a good quality multigrain or sourdough bread for best results, and don’t hesitate to replace the vegetables and herbs with your favorites, as bread pudding is very forgiving.
Yields 8 – 10 servings
3 tbsp butter
3 medium leeks, mostly whites
½ tsp salt
8 garlic cloves, minced
1½ lb assorted mushrooms (button, shiitake, oyster, portabello), sliced
½ cup Madeira
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup milk
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 x 1 lb multigrain or sourdough loaf, cut into ¾” cubes
2 tbsp thyme leaves
2 tbsp minced sage
4 cups grated Gruyère cheese
Minced chives for garnish
Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a large skillet and sauté the leeks and garlic with a pinch of salt until the leeks are soft. Set aside, then melt the remaining butter in the pan. Add all of the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook until the mushrooms have released their juices. Remove the lid and continue to cook until the mushrooms begin to sear. Deglaze with Madeira and let the liquid evaporate. Stir the mushrooms with leeks and set aside while you prepare the custard.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the cream, milk, salt and pepper. Stir in the bread cubes, cover and let stand for 1 hour. Stir occasionally to ensure that all the bread soaks evenly. Stir in the herbs, mushroom-leek mixture and half of the grated cheese.
Heat the oven to 350° F. Butter a 9” x 13” baking dish and spoon the bread pudding mixture into the pan. Sprinkle with reserved cheese and bake until crusty and golden brown and set in the middle (about 45 minutes). Sprinkle with minced chives. Let stand for several minutes, cut into square and serve hot.
Adapted from Rebar Modern Food Cook Book © Copyright 2001 Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanowicz. Tested for The Gilded Fork™ by Donna Marie Zotter.