I love the idea of some sweet treats turned into savory must haves. The idea for this one caught my eye right away in the latest Martha Stewart mag, except we substituted leeks for the original scallions, hoping for a little bigger punch of onion-esque flavor. Sometimes it’s good to experiment.
The recipe calls for a challah or brioche bread, but I couldn’t find either at the time and went with my old standby, the white mountain bread from Publix. It’s a nice, crusty bread outside, soft and full of holes for butter to seep into on the inside. It worked out faaaantastic in this dish, too. The greenery is the fresh herbs, all chopped up – rosemary, thyme and sage. It smelled sensational.
Eight! Eggs! Whipped up with some salt and pepper, chicken stock and heavy cream.
Celery, garlic and lots of beautiful, oniony leeks get their saute on before being added to the bread.
The egg mixture is combined with the bread mixture, and the two met up in a casserole dish, prepped with dots of butter on top. We’re ready to bake a savory bread pudding!
Bread pudding of any kind is baked till puffed and golden or browned. This was no exception; it was a good thing we put it in such a deep casserole dish! But even as we were taking pictures it was falling. Ahh the fickle life of a puffed bread pudding. Don’t worry, though, it’s supposed to do that. Sis commented that it smelled a lot like Thanksgiving again and she was so right. YUM.
It’s everything you love about a sweet bread pudding – the texture is soft and a little spongy, and moist from the eggs and cream, almost cheesy. But it takes on a new feel thanks to those fragrant herbs and leeks, becoming something new and wonderful. Sis wondered if cheese would be good in in next time, and I even commented that mushrooms would be aawwwwesome in it – but I think then we’d just be making a quiche. Heh!
Loved this one – a great side either for Thanksgiving next year or for the upcoming Holiday. Enjoy!
Herb-and-Leek Bread Pudding
Adapted from Herb-and-Scallion Bread Pudding, Martha Stewart Living, December 2011
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook time: about 1 hour 16 minutes Level: Easy Serves: 8-10
- 10 cups day-old challah or brioche, cut into 1-inch cubes (1-2 loaves)
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for top of dish
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Course salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2-3 cups leeks, thinly sliced, white and pale green parts only (about 2-3 leeks)
- 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups heavy cream
Combine bread and herbs in a large bowl. Melt the 4 tablespoons butter in a large skilletn over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Cook celery and garlic with a pinch of salt until celery is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add leeks and cook until tender, but still with some color to them, about 4 to 5 minutes. Pour mixture over bread and combine. Let cool.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter or spray a 3-quart casserole dish (2-3 inches deep). Whisk together the eggs, stock, heavy cream, 2 teaspoons salt and pepper to taste. Pour over bread and stir until bread is evenly soaked. Pour into the baking dish, pressing into corners, and dot the top with butter.
Bake until top puffs and center is set, about one hour. Tent foil over it to keep warm until ready to serve.
Again, any kind of bread pudding should puff up, but will quickly fall as it cools. This is normal.
If you don’t like leeks, you can certainly revert back to the original scallions, but the original recipe calls for 2 bunches of scallions/green onions. One bunch at my grocery store is usually five of them. Personally, I’d do at least three bunches, though. This makes a lot of bread pudding and less than that, the scallions might get lost in there.
Parsley was another herb option in the original, but I couldn’t get any that day, so I substituted the rosemary instead. You can really do just about any combination of fresh, savory herbs that you like, though.