Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spring at the Farmhouse: Savory Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding

Finally... some recipes from my super yummy first ever holiday dinner party. While planning my Easter dinner menu I wanted to make some Spring classics while also including some dishes that represented my cooking style. One of the best dishes I've made and posted here was this past fall with my savory butternut squash bread pudding. It was a super yummy dish, I got great feedback from those who tried making it, and I was even linked to on a very cool blog that gives lots of tutorials on all kinds of different things called So, I decided that another, more Springy, bread pudding would make for a perfect side dish to pair with the classic Roasted Spring Leg of Lamb that I planned to make for my main dish.

One of the things I find so exciting about food these days are all the fun twists and turns chefs make. Obviously, bread pudding was a classic sweet dish generally served for dessert. Nowadays though, do a little google search for bread pudding and all kinds of sweet and savory recipes pop up. I found this dish on and with my love of mushrooms (and my moms) I couldn't help but add this to our Easter menu. It was a yummy alternative to plain old dinner rolls and it's a hearty dish so it would make for a really great dinner with a little mixed greens on the side.... whether it be a leftover from a big holiday dinner or made for a low key romantical dinner at home with you and the one you love.

Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding

4 cups fresh bread crumbs (preferably challah or brioche)
1 1/2 lb fresh mixed wild mushrooms such as criminis, oyster, chantrelles
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups half and half
4 large eggs
1/2 cup grated parm

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rach in middle of oven. Bake bread cubes in a single layer in a large shallow baking pan until lightly golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Tear or cut mushrooms into 1/4 inch thick pieces.

Cook shallot in butter over medium heat in a heavy skillet, such as a cast iron skillet. Stir occasionally until shallots begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and cook until liquid that mushrooms release has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Add parsley and garlic and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk together half and half, eggs, cheese, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper in a large bowl. Add mushrooms and bread cubes and stir to combine until bread is well coated. Let stand 10 minutes for bread to absorb egg mixture.

Butter bottom and sides of a baking dish or casserole. Spoon mixture into baking dish and bake until firm to the touch, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve hot.

A couple tips:
1. The bread is important! I used challah because that is what my local Whole Foods Market had on hand. Most importantly, you want a soft bread and not a crusty one such as a french bread or baguette.
2. The recipe says to cut mushrooms into 1/4" thick pieces but I really wanted to taste the mushrooms so I made mine a little larger, about 1/2".
3. There are lots of ways you can change up this recipe. Try different bread like whole wheat or a different type of cheese, fontina maybe? Also read reviews that made it a little healthier with substituting olive oil for some of the butter and lowfat milk for some of the half and half. Lots of things to try for the next many times I plan to make this dish!

Recipe adapted from epicurious

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