Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Savory Mustard Greens Bread Pudding

I grew up in a meat and rice-centric community. Few meals didn’t include one, the other, or both (with at least one vegetable on the side, two on Sundays).  I believed that bread pudding was reserved for the sweet, for breakfast or dessert.  It was always a compact densely soaked sweet pudding, enriched with fruit (canned or fresh), and baked to the point of bubbly caramelized edges.  
Which I LOVE, by the way! 

On the other hand, there is my Mother’s holiday stuffing recipe.  This family favorite is rich with sautéed sweet onions and textured with sautéed diced celery.  Not to forget the earthy chicken livers and gizzards seasoned with black pepper.  All this bound with seasoned dried cornbread that has been generosity soaked in chicken stock, and baked too until perfectly toasted around the edges. 

I want some RIGHT NOW! 
I found myself at a crossroads.

What started out as an “I think I have a taste for trying this” type of recipe, turned into a new realm of savory custard binding the various textures of seasoned tender and crispy croutons, sautéed roasted vegetables, and shredded parmesan cheese.  It does its thing well! 
This dish lived up to everything I imagined.  It is a comforting vegetarian main you can serve with a salad, or it can turn a roasted chicken side dish repertoire on its ear. 

Can you hear me now?”  That’s what it said.
Savory Mustard Greens Bread Pudding

Yield: 6-9 as a main, 12-15 as a side
Baked in a 9x13 casserole dish

The Method: The Ingredients

½ Orwasher’s Oven Artisan rustic loaf, or other rustic loaf
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tbsp of unsalted butter
1 large white onion
1 red pepper, roasted
4 garlic cloves
Fresh thyme leaves
Fresh sage leaves
¼ lb shitake mushrooms
1 – 1 ½ tsp of kosher salt
1 bunch of mustard greens, washed
1 tsp freshly ground cumin seed
1 tsp of coriander seed
1 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp sweet paprika
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 container of sweet grape tomatoes, washed and halved
8 organic brown eggs
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of heavy cream
2 cups of 2% milk
1 – ½ cup of shredded parmesan cheese
Nonstick cooking spray
9” x 13” casserole dish

The Madness: The Assembly

Preheat oven to 375˚F

Slice loaf, and cut pieces into 1/2” cubes.  Place cubes into a large bowl. Sprinkle and toss bread cubes with one (1) tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and three (3) to four (4) thyme stems.  Pour prepared bread cubes into a dry baking sheet.  Place baking sheet in the preheated oven. Toast bread cubes until golden brown, ten (10) – twelve (12) minutes.  Don’t wonder off too far, depending on your oven’s temperature and the size of your bread cubes, you may have to adjust timing.  My Brooklyn Oven is a highly temperamental Diva.  Be sure to toss the cubes and rotate the pan halfway during baking.  Once the croutons have toasted, remove them from the oven and set them aside.

Do yourself a huge favor.  Prep all Ingredients before you start cooking, and set them aside. If you prep and organize your ingredients, you’ll find that the assembly of this dish will be a warm kitchen BREEZE!

Keeping it Real Disclosure: If you don’t know, now you know … this is when you turn on the music, and pour yourself a glass of wine, if you haven’t done so already!

Dice your onion.  Roast, cool (in a paper bag in the fridge), deseed, and chop your red pepper.  Slice the mushrooms.  Crack eight (8) eggs.  Wash, dry, and slice your grape tomatoes in half.  Wash, dry (or spin in my case), destem, and chop (or tear) your mustard greens into bite sized pieces.  Gather and de-stem, and chop your fresh herbs.   
Keeping it Real Disclosure:  That was a mouthful!

Let’s keep this going; the background music should really be easing you along just about now.

  Mince your garlic; measure out some extra virgin olive oil. 
Measure out and set aside the milk, cream, and shredded cheese.
Now we’re really cooking!  With extra virgin olive oil!

Over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the remaining tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add onions.  Sauté them until they become softened, and as we say, just start to get a little color on them.  Five (5) – seven (7) minutes. 
Add the thyme and garlic.  Stir.  Check your flame at this time; you may want to turn your stove down just a little.  You don’t want your garlic to burn.  It will get bitter.  Bitter is bad.

Add the minced roasted red pepper, the sliced mushrooms, and about a ½ teaspoon sprinkle of the kosher salt. 
Ok, NOW we’re cooking! With the addition of the salt, you will see that the mushrooms will start to draw a little water.  Stirring occasionally, allow the mushrooms to sweat, and the moisture to evaporate, approximately five (5) – seven (7) minutes.
If at this point you notice that your vegetables could use it, then you should add the remaining tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Add the mustard greens.  They will immediately begin to wilt, don’t worry about having too much, everything will fit.  Stir.  Add in the ground cumin, coriander seeds, hot paprika, sweet paprika, and ground nutmeg.  Continue to sauté, stirring occasionally.
Once your greens have wilted, add the sliced grape tomatoes.  Toss a sprinkle of salt over the tomatoes.  Stir the tomatoes through your greens. At this point turn off the flame underneath your greens and tomatoes. Taste your vegetables!!  Add additional seasonings to taste.  Trust yourself.
Set your greens to rest and cool a bit with your bread crumbs.  It’s not recommended to add hot greens and croutons to the egg mixture we’re about to make.  You’ll have scrambled eggs running through your pudding.  That’s not so good.
Speaking of the egg mixture, in a large bowl, whisk eggs, heavy cream, a pinch of salt and the ground black pepper until the mixture is well incorporated.  Add one (1) cup of shredded parmesan.

Mix croutons into custard; add vegetables. Stir until well combined.

Transfer the bread pudding into your casserole dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
Sprinkle the remaining half (½) cup of parmesan cheese over the pudding.

Bake bread pudding uncovered at 375˚ until it sets and the top is golden, about forty-five (45) minutes to one (1) hour. Let stand about ten (10). Dig in, and enjoy!

xo, Bon Appégeechee



  1. Love the use of the greens in this bread pudding. Savory can be just as good as sweet for something like this. Bet it would be great with spinach, kale or arugula too!

    1. Absolutely!! The mustards looked so good that I couldn't resist. I'm finding that savory often works in things that we think of as traditionally sweet. Thanks!

  2. My jaw dropped when I saw this recipe. I had never ever heard of making bread pudding like this. EVER. The colourful pics, what a dish. I must try, and I will make sure I have a few glasses of wine handy for the chaos this magnificent creation will cause.