Make ahead for those busy weekend mornings, brunch or special holiday occasions; Kale, Mushroom, Leek Savory Bread Pudding makes a hearty breakfast, brunch or dinner and feeds a small crowd. This recipe is vegetarian.
Finally Spring Has Arrived
Our days are getting longer, the rain has subsided, yet it’s still pretty chilly out. It’s beginning to feel like Spring though, with our service berry and camellias in bloom. I picked fresh thyme and chives yesterday. How is it where you are?
Driving past the tulip and daffodil fields last week in Skagit Valley, there were fields of yellow and red as far as the eye could see. The tulips are a few weeks early this year due to our mild Winter and swamp-inducing rains. I’ve yet to wander through the fields but hope to get out there this weekend. Sometimes if we go early in the bloom season, we can beat the millions of others who come see the flowers welcoming Spring. Have you been?
A Veggie that Keeps on Giving
In the meantime, I’m seeing Spring greens and even berries appear across the blog-o-sphere, and I can’t help but be a little jealous. I’m trying to wait patiently for the local asparagus to come in. Until then, I’m holding on to Winter crops the farm continues to provide in abundance. We’re still swimming in squash, and kale is a veggie that makes a showing year round.
How do you feel about kale?
I use it almost like a pantry staple and so have many kale recipes here on Vanilla And Bean. I can’t help but love it. Not only is kale nutritious, but it’s a hearty green like chard and collards, so it works well in soup, casseroles, and anywhere one would require a sturdy green. If you massage it (stick with me), it’s fabulous in salads. Massaging helps break down the plant cell walls and tenderizes the leaves to make them more palatable.
On Blanching Kale
In this Savory Bread Pudding recipe, the kale is blanched rather than wilted in the saute pan, before mixing it with other ingredients. Blanching serves several purposes here:
- Cleans and washes away pesky hidden dirt and debris.
- Destroys the enzymes that turn the veggies brown and mushy when cooking longer.
- Helps retain its bright green color and nutrients.
If you want to freeze kale, blanch it first. Its color will go from a dark, purply green to a vibrant, bright green in about one minute. So if you see kale on sale grab it, blanch it, then freeze it. Use it just like blanched frozen spinach.
How to Blanch Kale:
- First, fill a medium sauce-pot half full of water. Bring it to a rolling boil, and place the destemmed kale in the water, pushing it down into the water with tongs… don’t burn your fingers!
- Second, set a timer for one minute and cook the kale.
- Next, strain and plunge the kale into an ice bath to cool.
- Last, squeeze out as much water as possible then use or freeze.
A Few Recipe Notes
- Sourdough is a must in this recipe! Find it at you local artisan bakery, co-op or make your own homemade sourdough.
- I use crimini mushrooms in the recipe, but if you can find locally grown mushrooms at your farmers market, use them. A wild mushroom mix would be divine!
- Make Ahead: This recipe can be made one day prior to when needed. Prepare the recipe, then cover and refrigerate it overnight. It’ll be ready when you are the next morning.
- Vegetarian Gruyere and Parmesan can sometimes be hard to find. If unable to locate either as a vegetarian cheese (made without rennet), sharp white cheddar would be a fine substitution. I’ve linked to a resource in the Notes section of the recipe.
Savory bread pudding is also known as a strata. Why the confusion? What do y’all call it?
Kale, Mushroom, Leek Savory Bread Pudding
- 2 Tbs Coconut Oil virgin, unrefined.
- 8 C Kale destemmed and rough chopped into bite size-pieces (about two bunches), 210g
- 2 1/2 C Leeks split, cleaned, sliced thin into 1/2 moons (about 1 large leek), 210g
- 12 oz Crimini Mushrooms 340g
- 6 C Rustic Sourdough Bread cut into bite-sized cubes (about 1/2 a rustic loaf), 295g
- 2 1/4 C Gruyere grated*, 204g
- 1 C Parmesan grated*, 100g
- 2 Tbs Chives thinly sliced
- 1 tsp Fresh Thyme chopped
- 6 Large Eggs
- 2 C Whole Milk 520g
- 1 1/2 Tbs Dijon Mustard
- 1 tsp Sea Salt divided
- 1 tsp Nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- Spray a 9"x13" (22cm x 33cm) baking dish with pan spray. Set aside.
Prepare the Filling:
- To blanch the kale, fill a medium sized sauce-pot 1/2 way with water and put it on to boil. Set up an ice bath. Place the kale in the boiling water and press down to submerge. Set the timer for 1 minute. Remove the kale and plunge it into the ice bath to cool. Strain and press out excess water, as much as possible. Place in large mixing bowl.
- Add 1 Tbs oil to a saute' pan, heat until shimmering. Add the leeks plus 1/4 tsp salt and cook on medium-low for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally until until soft. Some browning is good. Place the cooked leeks in mixing bowl with the kale.
- Clean and destem the mushrooms then slice thin. Add 1 Tbs oil to the same saute' pan, heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and cook on medium-low for about 5 minutes, stirring only a few times. We want to sear those mushrooms. Add the mushrooms to the mixing bowl. Reserve 1 C (60g) of bread cubes, and a few handfuls of cheese and set aside. Then add the remaining bread, chives, thyme and cheeses to the kale and leek mixing bowl. Mix throughly.
For the Custard:
- Crack the eggs into a medium size mixing bowl. Add the milk, mustard, remaining salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Whisk until all ingredients are incorporated.
- Pour bread mixture into the prepared baking dish. Pour egg mixture over the bread mixture. Using the back of a spatula, firmly press the ingredients into the pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and firmly nudge the reserved bread into the cheese leaving it to stick out and crisp up as it bakes. This creates delicious little bits of crunchy goodness over the top of the dish.
To Hold and Bake:
- Cover and refrigerate overnight OR allow to rest for at least 30 minutes prior to baking so the bread mixture has time to soak up the custardy mixture. Bake uncovered at 350F (180C) on center rack for about 55 minutes turning 1/2 way through baking.
*Sharp white cheddar is a fine substitution if a veg friendly cheese is unavailable. Look for veg friendly brands like BelGioioso for Parmesan and Boars Head for Gruyere.