Bread pudding is a good dish to have in your repertoire since it works for any meal, including breakfast, and uses up stray ingredients. I had a small hunk of rustic sourdough bread, some leftover cooked spinach and a paper bag full of mushrooms from a local mushroom farmer. Since he’ll be back at the farmers’ market this week, I wanted to make sure my cupboard was clear for a new batch. This has many variations, especially when using spinach, a favorite around here. For example, if I hadn’t had the mushrooms, I probably would have added kalamata olives and feta instead of the mixture of hard cheeses (local versions of cheddar and gruyere) that I used.
My bread was pretty dense and my local eggs were small so I added an extra egg to this. Normally I use 2 eggs per cup of milk, but you just have to judge based on the ingredients.
Savory Bread Pudding with Spinach and Mushrooms
3 c bread cubes (about 4 oz)
¾ c cooked spinach, squeezed dry (1 bunch)
½ c cooked sliced mushrooms
Salt and pepper
1 c milk (nonfat is fine)
¼ cup grated cheese
Prepare the main ingredients. If the bread is very moist, dry it out in the oven at 250 degrees for about 15 minutes. Cut it into ½ or 3/4-inch cubes and place in a baking dish (6×8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish or something equivalent). Toss in pre-cooked vegetables.. Toss everything in the baking dish and season with a few gratings of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
Lightly beat the eggs, combine with the milk and cheese, and pour over the bread, pushing down on the ingredients to absorb the liquid. Let sit for 15-20 minutes or longer. (This can be refrigerated at this point and cooked later.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, sprinkle with additional cheese if desired, and bake for about 30 minutes or until the custard is set and the top is browned. Let it stand for a few minutes before serving.