This is a savory bread pudding that we ate with a salad for a complete meal, but of course it would also work well as a side dish. If you want to up the protein levels you can throw in some fake-or-real sausage, which would go well with the other flavors. I had a whole lot of leeks on hand from the CSA, so that is reflected in the recipe, but you could cut that back and/or substitute some onion or shallot for part of the leeks. To clean leeks, cut off the tough, green tops, split the white part in half, and rinse out any sand or grit. Slice and use. Here is the recipe:
Leek and Chanterelle Bread Pudding
1 pound loaf of good, crusty bread, torn into pieces and left out to dry overnight (I used a rosemary-olive oil loaf)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound of fresh chanterelles, or equal measure of other fresh mushrooms, cleaned and halved
3 large leeks, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 to 2 cups mushroom stock (or chicken stock, or even water will work)
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup lightly toasted walnut pieces
Spray a 9-by-13 inch baking dish with cooking spray to coat. Spread the bread chunks out in the pan.
In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just wilted. Spoon the mushrooms and any juices over the bread.
Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and cook the leeks just until soft. Pour over the bread-mushroom mixture, and use a spoon to mix the ingredients together.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, one cup of stock, salt, and white pepper. Pour over the bread mixture. If it looks too dry, add the additional stock–you don’t want it soaking wet, but damp throughout. Drizzle on the melted butter. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until golden and puffy. Sprinkle on the walnuts and bake for an additional five minutes. Cool slightly, cut into squares, and serve.