Thursday, March 11, 2010

Let Them Eat Bread -- Sweet and Savory Bread Puddings Plus a Soup Recipe

I was inspired to write my last j. column about using up bread because of the leaven-free holiday I'm facing, but I end up creating recipes to use up bread all the time. It seems like I always have some extra crusts, slices and frozen hot dog rolls around.

You can read my column here. (I feel like I should lead you with a crumb trail!)

If you haven't already tried a savory (main course) bread pudding, I highly recommend it. I use chicken stock instead of milk, but I still get a luscious custardy texture. Play with the flavorings and ingredients with whatever you have on hand. It's a very adaptable recipe. Try making it vegetarian by replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock, adding more vegetables and maybe some cheese.

The sweet bread pudding is adapted from one I had back in 2000 or so at a great little bed and breakfast in New Orleans, The Muses. Georgia, the owner, is also the woman who taught me on a previous visit how to make the pain perdu style French toast my children (and others) adore.

The soup is adaption of similar soups I've made before. Once you ladle on the hot soup, it really changes the bread's texture. This version is vegetarian.

I’ve made recommendations about what kinds of breads to use in each recipe, but I’ve also made these dishes with all sorts of leavened odds and ends. I’ve made the Chicken Shalet (shalet refers to a hearty noodle or other dish baked in an oven) with a mix of everything from sliced sourdough bread to defrosted hot dog rolls. The New Orleans Bread Pudding also works well with white bread, cake, or muffins. A hearty rustic peasant bread substitutes well for the whole wheat with the Winter Squash and Greens Soup.

Chicken Shalet
Serves 4

2 Tbs. oil, plus extra for greasing casserole
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chopped greens
2 cups chopped tomatoes
¼ tsp ground mustard
¼ tsp. ground dried sage
¼ tsp. ground dried thyme
¼ tsp. ground dried oregano
¼ tsp. ground cayenne
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ cup water
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups chicken stock
4 cups 1” rustic bread cubes
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
½ tsp. paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2 quart casserole. In a large pan, heat oil and sauté onions and garlic until golden. Add tomatoes, greens, mustard, sage, thyme, oregano, cayenne, salt and black pepper. Add water. Cook, stirring often, until greens are cooked and water evaporated. Remove from heat. Combine eggs with stock and add with bread and chicken to the vegetable mixture. Mix well. Pour into casserole. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 50 minutes.

New Orleans Bread Pudding
Serves 6

¼ cup + 1 Tbs. butter plus extra for greasing casserole
2 cups milk
½ cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups ½” challah cubes
¼ cup rum
1 cup pecan halves
2 bananas, cut in 1/4” slices
1/8 tsp salt
½ tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2 quart casserole. In a sauce pan, heat milk, butter and sugar until ¼ cup butter has melted and milk is simmering. Slowly add to eggs in a large bowl, continually whisking. Mix in salt, nutmeg, bread cubes, rum, pecans and bananas. Pour into casserole. Dot top with 1 Tbs. butter. Place casserole inside a large baking dish. Put in oven. Fill outer dish with hot water up to level of pudding. Bake for 55 minutes or until set.

Winter Squash and Greens Soup
Serves 6

2 Tbs. oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. Herbes de Provence OR Italian Seasoning
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. ground cumin
4 cups 1” cubes of winter squash
8 cups vegetable broth
8 cups chopped kale and/or chard
½ tsp. sugar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
6 cups 1” whole wheat bread cubes

Heat oil in large soup pot. Sauté onions and garlic until golden. Add seasoning, salt, peppers, cumin and squash. Stir. Add stock. Simmer about 15 minutes. Add greens. Simmer until vegetables are cooked. Stir in sugar and vinegar. Place a cup of bread cubes in each individual bowl and ladle hot soup on top. If desired, pass grated cheese.

1 comment:

Levinson & Axelrod said...

Sounds delightful. Thanks for this post.