Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding. Possibly the best thing ever.

This dish is, quite possibly, the best thing ever. Or maybe it's the best thing I've ever made. Either way, it's damn good.

I saw the recipe for this butternut squash and cheddar bread pudding in the Thanksgiving issue of Bon Appetit magazine. The accompanying article (written by Orangette's Molly Wizenberg) describes how the dish can replace the turkey at a vegetarian Thanksgiving. Count me in! Still too early for a true Thanksgiving meal, I made this delightful main course for a dinner party held at my apartment last weekend. It has quite a few steps (seeing as the dish itself is composed of four layered parts) and though a bit time consuming, nothing was particularly difficult about it. Plus, whisking seven (7!) eggs in a big metal bowl really made me feel like a chef!

Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding from Bon Appetit, November 2009

pounds peeled seeded butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2
teaspoons coarse kosher salt plus additional for sprinkling
7 large eggs
2 1/4 cups half and half (I used whole milk here.)
6 tablespoons dry white wine
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 day-old baguette (do not remove crust), torn into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
1 cup chopped shallots (about 4 large)
2 bunches Tuscan kale (about 1 pound), ribs removed, kale coarsely chopped
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt; bake until squash is tender, turning with spatula occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes.

Whisk eggs in large bowl. Add half and half, wine, mustard, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt; whisk to blend. Add baguette pieces; fold gently into egg mixture. Let soak 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add kale; cover and cook 2 minutes. Uncover and stir until kale is wilted but still bright green, about 5 minutes (kale will be a bit crunchy).

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Generously butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Using slotted spoon, transfer half of bread from egg mixture to prepared baking dish, arranging to cover most of dish. Spoon half of kale over bread. Spoon half of squash over bread and kale; sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, kale, squash, and cheese. Pour remaining egg mixture over bread pudding.

Cover bread pudding with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered until custard is set and bread feels springy to touch, about 20 minutes longer.

Preheat broiler; broil pudding until cheese browns slightly, about 2 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and serve.

This dish is beautiful and extraordinarily good. All the elements just melt into each other.

It tastes soft but also crisp, full of veggies and still completely substantive. Undoubtedly better than most Thanksgiving turkeys I've had.

And look how nicely it fit in with the rest of our dinner party fare!

Despite the time involved in making this dish, I'm already planning several upcoming occasions worthy of making it again.

No comments:

Post a Comment