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Author Notes: This bread pudding. So amazing. Imagine your tried and true recipe for bread stuffing taken to the next level. Or two. You can offer it to your gluten-free cousin, your vegetarian nephew and everyone else at the table. The finished dish is so full of flavor and texture …you’d never guess that it is vegetarian and gluten-free. Just keep in mind that you can easily replace a few key ingredients if those issues are of no concern to you and your guests.
Full credit for this recipe must go to Ina Garten. It is featured in her cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof. Ina directs you to use pancetta in the mix, which would certainly be delicious. So would the addition of sausage. In her version, she uses chicken stock. I’ve replaced that with vegetable broth. So many possibilities. All of them good. —rosemary | a hint of rosemary
Serves 8 people
- 6 cups 1/2-inch-diced gluten-free bread cubes, top crust removed (12 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 cups sliced leeks, white & light green parts only (3-4 leeks / 16 ounces)
- 1 1/2 pounds cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and 1/4-inch-sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- 1/4 cup medium or dry sherry
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 4 extra large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup vegetable broth, preferably homemade
- 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the bread cubes on a sheet pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large (12-inch) sauté pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the leeks are tender. Stir in the mushrooms, tarragon, sherry, salt, and pepper and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until most of the liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, vegetable broth, and 1 cup of the shredded Gruyère. Add the bread cubes and mushroom mixture, stirring well to combine. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the liquid.
- Stir well and pour into a 2½ to 3-quart gratin dish (13 x 9 x 2 inches). Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of shredded Gruyère and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is browned and the custard is set. Serve hot.