Savory Pancetta and Leek Bread Pudding
The smell of pancetta, leeks, and garlic sautéing in butter should be enough to get you to try this savory bread pudding.
This is a great side dish to serve with any type of roast. It’s particularly good with roasted chicken or turkey. Savory bread puddings are similar to stuffing. The main difference is that the custard formed by the eggs and milk help to keep everything moist and binds the bread together in ways you don’t get in a stuffing.
The combination of the creamy pudding layer with the crisp top layer helps give this dish an interesting texture to go along with the amazing flavors from the leeks, pancetta, and garlic.
- 1 pound soft French bread
- 2 cups leek
- 3 1/2 oz pancetta
- 2 cloves garlic
- 8 oz mushrooms
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- Start by taking a loaf of soft French bread and tear it up into bite size pieces. There should be enough pieces to slightly over fill a 9 by 13 pan.
- Finely dice the white part of the leek, mince the garlic, clean and roughly chop the mushrooms. Dice the pancetta.
- Sauté the pancetta, leeks, mushrooms, and garlic in the butter for three to four minutes. After a couple of minutes add the salt, pepper, and thyme. You want to get everything started cooking, but not cooked all the way through since the bread pudding will bake for a while.
- In a large bowl whisk the eggs and milk together. When you've finished sautéing the pancetta and leeks add them to the egg mixture and then mix everything with the bread. I usually use an eight-quart pot to get everything to fit. Make sure to get all of the bread pieces coated with the egg mixture, otherwise the bread pudding will have dry pockets.
- Grease a 9 by 13 pan including the sides with butter and then spread everything evenly around the pan.
- Bake in a 350℉ oven for 35 to 40 minutes. The bread pudding will be done with the pieces on the top are starting to brown and crisp up.
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