This is one of my favorite recipes! A few years back I asked Katie, a good friend of mine, to make a few side dishes for me to share on the blog for Thanksgiving. While our family has a very traditional menu of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and peas.. I wanted to add some new dishes to the mix! One of the three dishes she made was this Leek Bread Pudding. (she also made this sweet potato pudding with pecan and gingersnap topping and this two way stuffing with mushrooms and bacon).
I loved the idea of leeks and nothing is better than melted cheese and bread!
It smelled so good baking in the oven and, even better, I loved every single bite! I knew right away this was going to be dish we had more than once a year at Thanksgiving!
Besides being a side dish, it could be made for the main meal and would be perfect accompanied by a big green salad. It is a really easy recipe and I think, like most bread puddings, you could assemble it ahead of time and throw it in the oven an hour or so before you are ready to serve it.
- 2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices leeks (white and light green parts only)
- Kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 12 cups 1-inch cubes crustless Brioche or Pullman sandwich loaf
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 3 large eggs
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3 cups heavy cream
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup shredded Comté or Emmentaler
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Put the leek rounds in a large bowl of tepid water and swish so that any dirt falls to the bottom of the bowl. Set a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, lift the leeks from the water, drain, and add them to the pan. Season with salt and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. As the leeks begin to soften, lower the heat to medium-low. The leeks will release liquid. Stir in the butter to emulsify, and season with pepper to taste. Cover the pan with a parchment lid, and cook, stirring every 10 minutes, until the leeks are very soft, 30 to 35 minutes. If at any point the butter breaks or looks oily, stir in about a tablespoon of water to re-emulsify the sauce. Remove and discard the parchment lid.
- Meanwhile, spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through, until dry and pale gold. Transfer to a large bowl. Leave the oven on.
- Add the leeks to the bread and toss well, then add the chives and thyme.
- Lightly whisk the eggs in another large bowl. Whisk in the milk, cream, a generous pinch of salt, pepper to taste, and a pinch of nutmeg.
- Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Spread half the leeks and croutons in the pan and sprinkle with another 1/4 cup cheese. Scatter the remaining leeks and croutons over and top with another 1/4 cup cheese. Pour in enough of the custard mixture to cover the bread and press gently on the bread so it soaks in the milk. Let soak for about 15 minutes.
- Add the remaining custard, allowing some of the soaked cubes of bread to protrude. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheese on top and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until the pudding feels set and the top is brown and bubbling.
Katie said that she only needed to bake it for a little over an hour. Depending on how hot your oven is, I would keep an eye on it.
Keywords: leek bread pudding, Side Dish, Leek recipe, Main Dish, make ahead