Leek Bread Pudding

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It has been raining for days and I am so over it. We have been trying to get our garden ready, but with the rain it has been pretty unsuccessful. Potatoes are done. Chives, rosemary and thyme are good to go. And that is about it. Do you plant a garden? What are your favorite items to plant? My other staples that I always plant are, basil, sage, oregano, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and zuchinni. I am excited to try radishes this year, if I can ever get outside again.

With all of this rain, I knew comfort food was in order. I love bread pudding. I love it with bananas. I love it with apples. I love it with pumpkin. And I especially love it with bourbon. But making a non-sweet bread pudding was new to me and I am so glad that I tried it. This bread pudding uses the leeks that I have been receiving from my CSA. However, you could easily replace it with any other sauteed vegetable.

The pudding is excellent warm or called. It works as a main course for dinner. Served on top of some spinach for lunch. Or put an egg on it for breaksfast. Yum.

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Leek Bread Pudding

adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2cup of leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced 1/2, cleaned and thoroughly rinsed
kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
freshly ground pepper
6 cups of crustless bread, 1 inch cubes (brioche loaf is preferred, however I have tried 3 different types and all have worked great)
3 teaspoons of finely chopped chives 
1/2 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3 cups of whole milk (half-and-half, heavy cream, or 2% are all ok too)
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup of swiss cheese

Using a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add leeks making sure they are as dry as possible. Season with salt and saute for 5 minutes, reduce heat to medium low. Add butter, cover and cook for 20 minutes, stiring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread bread cubes to baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to large bowl.

Add leeks, chives and thyme to the bowl and toss. In another bowl, whisk egg and egg yolks, add milk, salt, pepper and pinch of nutmeg.

Lightly butter bread pan. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese to the bottom of pan. Spread half of the bread mixture in pan. Add another 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese. Spread remaining bread mixture in pan and add remaining cheese. Pour in enough milk to cover the bread. Press bread down. Set aside for 15 minutes. 

Add remaining milk mixture. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 60-65 minutes.

Ashley Martileek, CSA, vegetables