Last year we posted a Farro and Pumpernickel Stuffing with Fig Balsamic Caramelized Onions and the year before that was our Apple and Sausage Stuffing recipe – both made with our Wild Mushroom & Sage EVOO. This time we used our Tarragon EVOO to make this delicious, savory bread pudding adapted from Ina Garten that is perfectly moist inside and crispy on top. Of course, we chose a ‘make ahead’ recipe to help reduce the kitchen time on the day of the big feast. This can be prepared and stored for up to 2 days in the fridge. Pop it in the oven, set the timer and that’s one delicious side dish out of the way. As the Barefoot Contessa says, once you try this bread pudding, you’ll never go back to stuffing a turkey again!
- 6 cups bread cubes (about ½-inch diced) of a rustic country loaf, crusts removed
- 3 tablespoons Olive This! Tarragon EVOO
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
- 2 ounces pancetta, small-diced
- 4 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts (about 4 leeks)
- 1½ pounds cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and ¼-inch-sliced
- ¼ cup medium or dry sherry
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 4 extra-large eggs
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1½ cups grated Gruyere cheese (6 ounces), divided
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the rack placed in the middle position.Cut the loaf of bread into ½-inch cubes. Save some time by removing the crust from the loaf before cutting into slices and cubes. Of course, if you are really in a hurry, you could use store-bought croutons.
While the bread cubes are browning, prepare the leeks and mushrooms. Slice the leeks in half lengthwise and chop into ¼-inch slices. Wash cut leeks in a salad spinner to remove any dirt within the layers. Wipe the mushrooms clean and cut into ¼-inch slices. Set both leeks and mushrooms aside.
Heat the 3 tablespoons of tarragon EVOO and the 1 tablespoon of butter (if adding) in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add the 2 ounces of diced pancetta and cook until browning begins, about 5 minutes.
When the leeks are tender, add the 1½ pounds of sliced mushrooms, ¼ cup of sherry, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper. Mix well and cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the ½ cup of minced parsley.
After the ½ hour rest, give it one more stir and transfer to a 2½ to 3 quart gratin dish (about 13 x 9 x 2 inches). Top with remaining ½ cup of grated Gruyere cheese. Bake in oven until the custard is set and the bread pudding is puffed and golden brown, about 45-50 minutes. If making ahead, cover the assembled bread pudding tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 2 days. Bake just before serving.
MAKES 8-10 SERVINGS
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