I do not recall encountering bread pudding prior to making my home in the South. It was not a traditional dessert served at family dinners, nor was it seen all that much in Ohio or Florida where I lived before. (Notice I do not consider Florida a part of the south. That state has a uniqueness all its own.)
Only once in recent years did bread pudding make its appearance at home. (Notice I still refer to home as the place my mother resides despite living in an area with a different zip code). My grandmother brought a homemade bread pudding to a holiday gathering. I don’t remember much about that dessert except no one really expected a bread pudding to make an appearance. But she made it because that is what sounded good to her. I can appreciate that!
I can also appreciate this savory bread pudding. Up until now, I had only considered the dish as a type of dessert. As it turns out, this was not all that bright on my part since my mom has made what essentially amounts to a savory bread pudding to enjoy on Christmas morning for as long as I can remember. Except we call it a casserole. Ah, semantics.
Her traditional bread pudding, a.k.a. egg casserole, uses a loaf of white bread and features cheddar and ham. This savory bread pudding uses a baguette and features the flavors of Gruyere and vegetables. I can happily report it is rather delicious. The flavors meld together so nothing is overpowering. What’s more, the dish is filling without feeling too heavy.
I do not have much experience with bread puddings, but given they do not require a whole lot of technical expertise, and they make use of my favorite food (bread), I anticipate making a few more in the future.
If you are in a sweet mood, click on over for a Tiramisu Bread Pudding or a S’mores Bread Pudding recipe. If you are in the Charlotte area and want to order a good bread pudding, the best I’ve tasted thus far is over at Fran’s Filling Station. Until the next sweet treat, enjoy a Savory Saturday!
- 4 eggs
- 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1½ teaspoons thyme leaves
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2½ cups milk
- 2 cups grated cheese (Gruyere preferred)
- 1 stale baguette
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ large red onion
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 package frozen spinach, thawed
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- Cut a stale baguette into 1-inch cubes. You should have about 8 cups of cubed bread. If the bread is not stale, simply dry it on a sheet pan in the oven at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the mustard, thyme leaves, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
- Whisk in the milk and the cheese.
- Placed the bread cubes in a large bowl, then pour the liquid mixture over the bread. Stir to coat, and allow the mixture to soak into the bread for 15-30 minutes. You may need to stir the bread a few times as it soaks.
- While the bread soaks, prepare the vegetables.
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Saute the chopped onion and mushrooms until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one more minute.
- Stir the cooked onion and mushroom mixture and the thawed spinach into the soaked bread. Be sure to squeeze as much water out of the spinach as possible before stirring it into the bread.
- Use the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to grease a 9 x 13 dish. Pour the bread and vegetable mixture into the prepared dish.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes. The bread will be browned and the mixture bubbling when it comes out of the oven.