04 March 2013

Bread Pudding Casserole

This casserole took me a whopping 4 hours to make!

…Are you still here?

Even without careful rationing the casserole fed me through three-and-half days of lunches and dinners, so it ended up saving me about 2 hours.  The picky Goofy Baby loved it, I loved it, and its gorgeousness warmed my hungry heart.  The bon appétit site from which I adapted the recipe tried to market this recipe as a vegetarian Thanksgiving centerpiece, but I don't think so. I would never serve a cheesy dish at Thanksgiving, let alone as the centerpiece. I know some families have a broccoli and cheese casserole tradition on that day, but not as a turkey substitute!

The vegetable ingredients stay in season for months, so you can enjoy this from November through March or even April.

* This dish adapts really well to the gluten-free diet because the baguette I used had to be toasted until it was completely crisp. GF bread has no trouble getting crisp. I think you could use toasted gluten-free bread or even large, unseasoned GF croutons as a substitute (The brand Ener-G makes some). Just be careful to use gluten-free alcohol.

Butternut Squash and Kale Bread Pudding

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes
olive oil
1 baguette, * sliced into 1 inch pieces and toasted until crisp.
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
7 large eggs
1 pint cream
6 tablespoons dry white wine, sake, or Chinese Shao xing wine
4 large shallots, chopped
1 pound kale, ribs removed, coarsely chopped or torn into small pieces
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Toss cubed squash with 1 Tablespoon of oil. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until tender.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Whisk in cream, wine, and kosher salt. Add baguette pieces. Mix gently together and allow to sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a large pot, heat 2 Tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add kale. Cover and cook 2 to 7 minutes until kale has wilted a little but is still bright green.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF. Butter a 9x13 baking dish.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer half of the bread from the egg mixture to the baking dish. Arrange it to cover most of the dish.
  6. Spoon half of the kale-shallot mix over the bread.
  7. Spoon half of the squash cubes over the kale.
  8. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the squash cubes.
  9. Repeat steps 5 through 8.
  10. Pour remaining egg mixture over the bread pudding.
  11. Cover the bread pudding with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered 20 minutes.
  12. Cool and serve.

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