Every so often, I force myself to wade through the huge pile of recipes I have collected, recipes I mean to try. Usually they are from the half dozen food and cooking magazines I receive every month. Today’s sorting turned up one for a savory mushroom bread pudding that I had earmarked for cold weather. Unfortunately, I tore it from an unknown, untitled publication so I can’t properly credit its author.
Buy the freshest mushrooms you can find. If you decided to use Portobellos, as I did, remove the black gills under their caps, as they can add a bitter taste and unappealing color to many dishes. My mushroom man at the local Farmers Market was on an extended Thanksgiving break, so I went to Whole Foods and picked out Portobellos for their meaty taste, and a handful of Criminis.
TIP: Place the baking dish on a sheet pan to prevent oven spillage.
Serves 4 as an entrée and 6 as a side dish
- 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, divided use
- 1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 cup madiera wine
- 1 pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- kosher salt and ground black or white pepper, divided use
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 6 slices whole grain country-style bread
- 3/4 cup Gruyére cheese, coarsely grated
- 3/4 cup sharp white cheddar, coarsely grated
- 1-2 teaspoons white truffle oil, optional
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until limp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for another minute. Now add the madiera and cook until most of it has been absorbed by the onion mixture. This will take another 5 minutes.
3. Add the sliced mushrooms and the olive oil. Season with salt and/or pepper to taste and cook until the mushrooms release and then absorb much of their liquid. This will take about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the parsley.
4. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs and add the milk. Stir well, season with additional salt and/or pepper. Combine the grated cheeses and set aside.
5. Butter a 9-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish.
6. Spread half the bread slices over the bottom of the dish. Cut the pieces so as to completely and evenly cover the surface. Next, add the mushroom-onion mixture. Cover with half of the combined grated cheese. Layer the rest of the bread slices on top.
7. Pour the egg custard over the pudding, pushing the bread down with your hands so that it absorbs the custard. Top with remaining grated cheese. Drizzle with truffle oil, if desired.
8. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake, uncovered, for another 20 minutes until pudding is puffed and browned. Allow to rest 10 minutes before cutting and serving.