Savory Spanish Bread Pudding

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Savory Bread Pudding

There was a time when I always had stale bread in my freezer. I’d buy a loaf for some purpose or other, eat part of it, then when the remainder started going stale I’d cut it up into cubes and deliberately let it get stale before freezing it. It was a ready resource for croutons, breadcrumbs, stuffing, and bread pudding.

But a couple of years ago I started baking bread regularly and the fresh homemade stuff was so good I seldom had much leftover. I’ve even been reduced to using store-bought breadcrumbs on occasion. So when faced with the requirement for stale bread in this month’s IMBB I was forced to buy bread just to let it get stale. That actually turned out to be a good thing.

I went to Fresh Market (a Southern version of Whole Foods) and bought a batard of sourdough French Bread. To my great

Savory Bread Pudding

surprise it was excellent. It smelled like the real thing, had the texture of the real thing, and even tasted like the real thing. Oh, I’m sure it wouldn’t stand up in a side-by-side comparison with a genuine French loaf, but it was far better than any bread I’ve ever bought here in Knoxville. It seemed a shame to just let it go stale – so I fixed a couple of paninis and then let it go stale.

Ever since my friend Stephen at Stephen Cooks made a tomato bread pudding I’ve been thinking about doing the same. It’s the wrong time of year for tomatoes, but I decided to do something with a Spanish theme.

It turned out pretty well. The bread gave it a texture somewhere between an omelet and a soufflé — which was unexpected and quite nice. The flavors balanced nicely but weren’t intense enough. If I make it again — and I might — I’ll use more of everything except the bread and custard. Actually, a bit of tomato would have been a good idea even if I’d used canned tomatoes.

Savory Spanish Bread Pudding

6 slices French bread
5 ea eggs
2 1/2 c whole milk
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Spanish paprika
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb fresh chorizo — diced
1 ea sm. onion — diced
1/2 ea red bell pepper — diced
3 cloves garlic — chopped
1 c grated manchego

Cut bread into 1/2″ cubes and dry (don’t toast) in a 200F oven.

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat and add chorizo. Cook until sausage begins to render its fat then add onion and red bell and sauté until onion is translucent. Add garlic and cook another minute. Set aside to cool.

Heat oven to 400F.

Whisk together milk, eggs, paprika, oregano, and salt and pepper. Stir in bread cubes and vegetables and pour into a casserole dish. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with grated cheese and continue baking 20 minutes or until mixture is puffed and browned. Serves 6.

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7 Responses to “Savory Spanish Bread Pudding”

  1. Alanna Kellogg Says:

    I’m back to perfecting tomato bread puddings again too! I love your cast on Spanish ingredients, though …

  2. Kevin Says:

    Alanna,I was really pleased to find fresh Spanish Chorizo, it has a more subtle and complex flavor than the Mexican variety.

  3. stephen Says:

    yum…! a nice idea, I can’t wait to try…

  4. tokyoastrogirl Says:

    Wow- this looks fantastic. I love all savory bready things, so this is pretty much my dream food.

  5. Kevin Says:

    Stephen,Thank you for the idea.Tokyoastrogirl,Thanks. If you make it, be sure to spice it up a bit more than I did.

  6. Marianne Says:

    I am often surprised by the quality of the breads at The Fresh Market. This dish looks fantastic, I really love savory bread puddings.Wait, are we still talking? Last I checked you forgot my name…

  7. Kevin Says:

    Marianne,“Wait, are we still talking?”Let’s see… Ah. Quiche! Yes.[g]I’ve bought bread at Fresh Market before and it’s better than anywhere else, but this was actually very good.

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