Savory Mushroom and Bacon Bread Pudding

Recipe and Styling by Libbie Summers
Photography by Anna Heritage
Recipe from The Whole Hog Cookbook by Libbie Summers, Rizzoli 2011

My go to Thanksgiving pseudo stuffing. Drizzled with sage butter, this decadent savory bread pudding is perfect nestled up next to a mound of just sliced turkey or just to have a bowl of when no one is looking.

Libbie Summers Savory Mushroom and Bacon Bread Pudding
Libbie Summers Savory Mushroom and Bacon Bread Pudding with Sage Butter

Savory Mushroom and Bacon Bread Pudding with Warm Sage Butter
serves 6

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound thick-cut bacon
1⁄2 cup white wine
1 1⁄2 pounds cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, finely diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon rubbed dried sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 large eggs
3 cups half-and-half
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
8 cups day-old challah bread, crusts on, torn into cubes
Warm Sage Butter (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 ̊F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with the butter and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until it is crisp. Remove the bacon to a cutting board and chop. To the same skillet over medium-high heat, add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the brown bits as you stir. Stir in the mushrooms, garlic, shallots, basil, parsley, sage, and thyme. Sauté for 15 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and browned. Remove from the heat and stir in the bacon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, half- and-half, 3⁄4 cup of the cheese, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper. Add the bread cubes and toss to coat. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes.

Stir in the mushroom mixture and transfer the pudding to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1⁄4 cup cheese over the top and bake for 40 to 60 minutes, until the pudding is browned and the center has puffed up. Drizzle with Warm Sage Butter before serving.

Warm Sage Butter
yields 3/4 cup

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 fresh sage leaves, chopped

Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Add the sage and simmer for 3 minutes.


Libbie’s Note:
Savory Mushroom and Bacon Bread Pudding can also be made in individual ramekins. If you do so, reduce the baking time to 20 to 30 minutes.