It’s that time again. Time to start posting (or reading about) your favorite Thanksgiving recipes! And this one? It’s a keeper.
Some people daydream about holiday meals months in advance (um, hi). I imagine that when most normal people think about Thanksgiving, their mind immediately turns to turkey. Not this girl. I’m a stuffing fan. My favorite must-appear-on-the-Thanksgiving-table-side-dish has — for the last few years — been this cornbread dressing (I seriously cannot live without it), but truth be told this savory bread pudding could give it a run for its money.
A few weeks ago, my friend from grad school came down to the city to visit. After bending her arm a little (hah!), I convinced her to spend the day cooking a pre-Thanksgiving feast with me. While she may have had a slight love affair with a hot toddy glaze (recipe to be posted later), I think this dish is solely responsible for stealing all of our hearts. Or more specifically, for filling our stomachs.
If you’re looking for something a little different to prepare this Thanksgiving (other than my fabulous cornbread dressing, that is), you’ve got to try this.
Slice a loaf of day old bread into 1″ cubes.
I stopped by a bakery in Chelsea Market (a few blocks away from where I work) and picked up an amazing loaf of rosemary bread. Swoon. Don’t worry if you can’t get your hands on a fancy flavored bread. Just grab your favorite loaf and let it sit out on the counter for 1 – 2 nights. I’ve gotta say, though, that the herbs in this particular bread helped emphasize the earthiness from the mushrooms… not to mention they enhanced the additional herbs I added to the dish (thyme and more rosemary).
Next, sauté some diced shallots and minced garlic in a little butter (don’t worry, it’s a holiday!) over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the chopped mushrooms (we used dried porcinis and shiitakes that we rehydrated), season with salt and pepper, then continue to cook for 5-7 minutes. Carefully add sherry or dry white wine, then simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, heavy cream, half-and-half, thyme, rosemary, cheese, salt, and pepper.
Find a really big bowl, then combine the cubed bread, the mushroom and shallot mixture, and the wet ingredients.
I love a good action shot.
And, apparently, a good still shot.
Use a spoon to thoroughly mix everything together, then pour into a large greased baking dish. Place in a refrigerator for at least 30 or 45 minutes (though longer would be better!).
Bake in a preheated oven at 325 F for 40 minutes, or until the bread is slightly golden brown and crispy and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
And that’s all she wrote.
The flavor from the porcinis and shiitakes are insane. As in steer clear if you don’t like mushrooms, but run as fast as you can to buy these ingredients if you’re a fan of fungus.
This recipe is incredibly versatile, too. If you like a wetter, mushier bread pudding, add some chicken stock or the liquid you reserved from rehydrating the dried mushrooms. If you’re a fan of sausage or oysters in your dressing (a truly southern thing), feel free to toss ’em in. Choose any type of bread that you love: challah, brioche, rye, whatever!
And if you, like my husband, prefer dressing inside of a bird (aka: stuffing), stuff away. Bon appetit!
Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding
*Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Recipes (2011 issue).
Yields: 8 servings
Time: 40 minutes prep, 30 min – 2 hrs chill, 40 minutes bake
- 3 cups chopped mushrooms (If using dried mushrooms, rehydrate them in hot water for 10-15 minutes, then drain and chop. Reserve liquid)
- 2 large shallots, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup dry sherry or dry white wine
- 6 cups rosemary bread (or any other type of bread, preferably herbed)
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup fat-free half-and-half
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded (or something similar)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium bowl combine eggs, heavy cream, half-and-half, cheese, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Set aside
- Grease a 2-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside. In a large skillet cook shallots and garlic in hot oil over medium heat, about 5 minutes or until tender.
- Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper to taste, then cook 5-7 minutes. Carefully add sherry. Simmer until liquid is almost all evaporated.
- Transfer mixture to a large bowl with cubed bread. Pour wet ingredients over bread mixture and stir to thoroughly coat. Spoon bread into prepared dish. Cover and chill for at least 30-45 minutes. (The original recipe recommended this sitting in a refrigerator for at least 2 hours. The longer, the better!)
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Bake about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.