Leek & Artichoke Bread Pudding © Claudia Ward
Preparing for the holidays and holiday meals can be stressful, especially if you want everything to be ready at the same time and at least warm if not piping hot. I've found a savory bread pudding to be a very satisfactory and satisfying alternative to stuffing, and it's meant to be cooked "outside the bird". I can assemble this one or two days before the feast, refrigerate it covered, and then just bake it off in the final hour before we sit down. Looking to make your holiday a little easier, try this - it's really tasty too.
Leek & Artichoke Bread Pudding
8 cups (1-inch diced) day-old bakery white bread, crusts removed
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
6 cups (1/2-inch diced) leeks, white and light green parts (5 leeks)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (9-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted
3 tablespoons minced chives
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon leaves
4 extra-large eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups grated Emmentaler Swiss cheese (8 ounces)
- Preheat the oven to 350℉.
- Place the bread cubes on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes, tossing once, until lightly browned. Place the pancetta in one layer on another sheet pan and bake in the same oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Place the pancetta on a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
- Meanwhile, soak the leeks in water until they are clean, and spin them dry in a salad spinner.
- Heat the butter in an 11-inch pot over medium heat, add leeks, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the wine, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and cook for 5 minutes, until the wine almost evaporates and the leeks are tender.
- Off the heat, mix in the artichokes, toasted bread cubes, chives, and tarragon.
- Whisk the eggs, cream, chicken stock, nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon salt together in a large bowl.
- Spoon half of the bread mixture into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish.
- Sprinkle with half the Emmentaler and add the remaining bread mixture.
- Pour on the cream mixture, sprinkle with the remaining Emmentaler, and press lightly to help the bread absorb the liquid.
- Dice or crumble the pancetta, scatter on top, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
- Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the cream mixture.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the pudding is puffed and golden. Serve hot.