www.foodnetwork.com_-01Savoury bread puddings are delicious! Americans love them as a warm starter, side dish, and alternative to stuffing. They’re incredibly budget-friendly, use up all your old bread, and make great leftovers. If you’ve never made one, let your first be this hearty Mushroom and Leek Bread Pudding https://bit.ly/1f3asSN from celebrity chef Ina Garten (barefootcontessa.com).

Mushroom and Leek Bread Pudding

This hearty dish is ideal for feeding a crowd. It’s great with a green salad or pork chops.

Serves 8-10

400g bread cubes, crusts removed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
50g pancetta, diced finely
4 leeks, white and green parts, sliced
1.2kg portabellini mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
30ml medium or dry sherry
salt and black pepper
a small handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 large eggs
600ml cream
250ml chicken stock
170g gruyere, grated

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside.

2 Heat oil and butter over a medium heat. Add the pancetta and fry for 5 minutes, add the leeks and cook until tender. Add mushrooms, tarragon, sherry, 1 tbsp salt, and 1½ tsp pepper and cook for 10-12 minutes, until most of the liquid evaporates, stirring now and then. Take off the heat, then stir in the parsley.

3 In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, chicken stock, and ⅔ of the gruyere. Add the bread and mushroom mix, stirring well. Set aside for 30 minutes. Stir well and pour into a large baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining gruyere and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot.