Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr
This is a "stuffed" savory bread pudding that's perfect for a Sunday brunch. Rather than just jumble everything together, you do it in three layers -- bottom layer of dried or stale French bread, a layer of spinach, tasso and cheese, and more bread on top. It's easy to prepare the day before, so all you have to do on Sunday morning is pop it in the oven. Recipe by Chef Chuck Taggert.
- 1 loaf of good French bread (16 ounce)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
- 6 -10 cloves garlic, minced (however much you like)
- 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry with squeezings reserved
- 8 ounces tasso, diced (or substitute regular smoked ham, andouille sausage or any good smoked sausage)
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup medium-dry white wine (Don't use Chardonnay)
- 12 ounces gruyere cheese, grated (substitute a good Swiss or Monterey jack)
- 12 large eggs
- 3 1⁄2 cups half-and-half
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 3 -5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 3 -5 dashes hot sauce
- creole seasoning (Tony Chacheries)
- Slice the bread into 1/2" slices and let dry out overnight.
- You may also dry them in a 200-225°F oven for about 30-40 minutes until they're completely dried; make sure you don't brown them.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy skillet (don't use non-stick).
- Add the diced tasso.
- Brown the tasso for 5 minutes until some of the fat has been rendered out and you've got some nice brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Remove from pan, drain on papertowels and set aside.
- Add the wine to the pan, making sure to scrape up all the browned bits.
- Reduce the wine by half.
- Pour out into a large bowl and set aside.
- In the same skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter with the rest of the olive oil.
- Add the onions and garlic.
- Sauté for about 3 minutes, until onions are translucent.
- Add the spinach water and let it reduce.
- Add the chopped spinach.
- Continue to cook for 3 minutes, making sure that there's hardly any moisture left.
- Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Whisk the eggs in a large bowl.
- Add the half-and-half.
- Add the molasses, Worcestershire, hot sauce, the reduced wine, about 2 teaspoons of salt, plenty of fresh ground black pepper and Creole seasoning to taste.
- Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 baking dish.
- Make one layer of dried bread slices on the bottom.
- Use little broken-off pieces if you need to fill any little spaces.
- Cover the bread evenly with the spinach mixture.
- Sprinkle evenly with 1/3 of the grated cheese.
- Spread the diced tasso evenly over the cheese.
- Season with more Creole seasoning and pepper.
- Sprinkle with more cheese.
- Add a second layer of bread,filling the holes with broken pieces as needed.
- Give the custard a final mix with the whisk and pour evenly over the entire surface of the bread, making sure you wet everything.
- Season the top with more black pepper and Creole seasoning, the remaining cheese and a sprinkling of salt.
- Wrap the pudding in plastic wrap.
- Weigh the top down with a couple of boxes of brown sugar, a bag or rice or whatever you have available.
- This helps compress the layers of the pudding so that the custard will soak all the way through allowing it to cook more evenly.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- When ready to cook,take the pudding out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 325-350°F for about one hour, until the edges and center are puffy.
- Let the pudding cool for about 5 minutes.
- Slice and serve.
i cut this recipe in half and used a french bread that i baked. i also used fresh spinach. iotherwise i followed the recipe and we were very pleased with the results. i had a bit of trouble getting the cream mixture to stay in the baking dish, it kept overflowing, but in the end it tasted just fine. i will definitely be making this again!
Made this for the "ewww I don't eat crawdads" people at the craw-fish boil. It got rave reviews!! Except I used collard greens instead of spinach..and offered smoked mushrooms on the side.