Friday, November 21, 2014

Bacon, Leek, and Artichoke Bread Pudding



I have really been enjoying the fall this year. Not that I hate the fall usually but, being a So Cal girl transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, when the days get gray and drizzly, the temps dive, and the sun is gone by 5 PM, it can kind of wear on a girl. Day dreams of warm sand between my toes and ocean waves crashing fill my head, and my mood can kind of falter. 

But the last couple of years have been different. I don't know if it is because I am finally acclimating (It has only taken me 6 years!), or maybe it is my little deer herd that have adopted us as family and show up several times a day to peer into the windows hoping for some treats. I don't know. All I do know is that I have been in the best of moods (with a few detours thanks to the flu and allergies) and look forward to each and every day. WOW, I am starting to sound like one of those perky people that have a perpetual smile and are constantly saying "Have a nice day"? Ya, those are the people that I usually want to smack right about now! Maybe the aliens came and I am actually a pod person and not really me at all? AHH!




Well, pod person or not, my good mood has me craving (and making) tons of yummy carb loaded comfort food. I used our early Thanksgiving with the kids as an excuse to indulge in one of my favorites, bread pudding. Now I am a bit of a strange one when it comes to bread pudding. Actually when it comes to many other things besides just bread pudding, but for this story let's just stick to the bread pudding shall we?

I am a savory bread pudding lover. Don't get me wrong, I do like the dessert version. But for whatever reason it is the savory side that get the taste buds revved up and rarin' to go. Eggy, cheesy cubes of bread baked with veggies and herbs? Mmmmm boy that will win me over every time!

With the kiddos coming over for a "pre" Thanksgiving dinner, I took it as an opportunity to give this dish a try VS the traditional stuffing/dressing I usually make for the holidays. Oh the kids were a little peeved with me, but it is not like I have never modified the normal holiday menu with a more updated dish. They all liked the Savory Bread Pudding with Spinach, Artichoke, and Brie I made a few years back, so I kind of figured they would be open to a little change.

I wasn't prepared for how much they actually would love it! I had been planning on taking our traditional stuffing to the big family dinner since it is one of the dishes that everyone wants the recipe for. Even though I have explained to everyone that they can get the recipe right here on the blog, they just want me to make it. I don't mind, it makes me feel loved ❤. 

But the kids went on and on about how awesome this bread pudding was. Even my daughter, who hates artichokes and only took a bite of it because I begged her to, loved and I mean luvvvvvvved it! It was enough to make my head spin. 

So now I am stuck. What am I going to make for the family dinner? ACK!! Help!!  


Bacon, Leek, and Artichoke Bread Pudding

Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen
Published 11/22/2014
Bacon, Leek, and Artichoke Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 8 cups of day old Italian bread (1-inch cubes)
  • 4 leeks, root end and dark green leaves cut off, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced into 1/2-inch half moons
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Gallo Family Vineyards' Pinot Grigio)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 3 tablespoons chives, minced
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until browned, tossing once halfway through.
  3. Meanwhile soak the leeks in a large bowl of water until they are clean. Spin them dry in a salad spinner, or wrap in a clean dish towel and wring the water out..
  4. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil, in large pot or dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until it crisps and the fat has rendered. Remove cooked bacon with a slotted spoon, and reserve on a paper towel lined plate.
  5. Add the leeks to the hot bacon fat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the wine, salt, and pepper, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the wine almost evaporates and the leeks are tender. Remove from the heat and add the artichokes, toasted bread cubes, and chives. Stir to combine.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, chicken stock, nutmeg, and a teaspoon of salt together.
  7. Pour half of the bread mixture into the bottom of a 13x9 casserole dish. Sprinkle with half of the cheese, then add the remaining bread mixture. Pour the egg mixture over the top and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Press the lightly on the top to make sure all of the bread has been coated in the egg mixture. Scatter the cooked bacon on top. Set aside to allow the bread to soak up the egg mixture about 30 minutes).
  8. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the custard has set and the bread pudding is puffed up and golden.
Yield: serves 6 to 8
Prep Time: 01 hrs. 30 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 45 mins.
Total time: 1 hrs. 75 mins.
Tags: bacon, bread, leek, artichoke, egg, cheese, chive, white wine, Gruyere cheese, Breakfast, Breakfast Dishes, Holiday Dishes,

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