Savory Bread Pudding with Gruyere and Swiss Chard

Don’t start that diet yet! Save room for just one more decadent dish…

Savory Bread Pudding with Gruyere and Swiss Chard

1 large artisnal loaf bread, cubed (12-14 cups of cubed bread)

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon evoo

2 leeks, white and light green part only, washed and sliced into 1/2 moons

1 fat garlic clove, minced or pressed

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped

3 cups half and half or milk

8 large free range eggs (because it’s nicer)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon white pepper

2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese

2 pats butter

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1) Pre-heat oven to 350F. Place the cubed bread on 2 dry, ungreased baking pans and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until lightly toasted, but not colored. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Keep the oven on if you plan on baking the pudding immediately.

2) Sauté the leeks and garlic over medium-high heat in the 1 tablespoon butter and evoo. Cook until soft– about 5 minutes– then add in the chard, stir, cover and reduce heat to medium. Allow to steam-cook until the chard is limp, but still deep green, stirring occasionally.

3) Whisk the half and half or milk together with the eggs, salt and pepper. Place the tasted bread cubes into a very large bowl and pour the creamy-egg mixture over top. Toss well to coat all the bread then add in the leeks/Swiss chard and toss again. Now add in the Gruyere, tossing one more time. The pudding can be held like this for up to 8 hours.

4) Smear a large baking dish with the last 2 pats of butter and pile the bread/egg/chard/cheese mess into it. Scatter the Parmesan cheese across, cover and bake 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove the cover and continue to bake for 15 minutes longer, to brown up.

Serve at once. Makes 12-14 servings (awesome left-overs), but the recipe can easily be halved.

Jennifer Brulé is a classically trained chef, food writer and recipe developer. She has been a regular columnist for the daily newspapers along the east coast, as well as freelancing for Cooking Light ...read more

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