Bread pudding is the perfect catch-all for stray ingredients leftover from other recipes (or overflow from your CSA). It’s also the perfect way to keep stale bread from going to waste. Although bread pudding is traditionally sweet, this recipe showcases its potential as a savory dish. You can customize the ingredients based on whatever you happen to have on hand. All you really need is a flavorful liquid, sturdy bread to soak it up, and just enough eggs to hold it together. Sweet or savory, veggie, meaty, or plain, bread pudding’s an amazing way to transform odds and ends into a irresistible and hearty dish!
1 loaf stale French bread (about 9 cups)
2.5 oz carrots, diced
2.5 oz celery, diced
5 oz onion, diced
1 Tbsp butter
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2.5 sprigs fresh sage
3.25 cups beef stock
0.75 cups heavy cream
1 bunch of ramps (or green onions or baby leeks), cut into 1 inch lengths
Salt and pepper to taste
3 strips of crispy cooked bacon, diced
Preheat oven to 350F and butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Cut bread into 1 inch cubes, add to pan, and set aside.
In a 2 quart saucepan, add onions, carrots, celery, onion, and butter and saute on medium high heat until vegetables begin to sweat and soften. Bundle your fresh herbs together with twine and add them and the beef stock to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Add cream and ramps and simmer 2-3 more minutes, or just until ramps have softened. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside to cool. Remove herb bundle before moving onto the next step.
In a large bowl, beat eggs slightly with a whisk, then add the cooled stock mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture over your bread and stir to distribute vegetables and liquid evenly. Allow to soak for about 10 minutes, stirring or pressing on the bread as needed to ensure maximum absorption. Sprinkle bacon over top. Bake 30-45 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.