Ecosalon Recipes: Savory Make-Ahead Vegetarian Breakfast Bread Pudding

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The beauty of a savory breakfast bread pudding (besides the fact that it tastes good and uses leftover bread that may otherwise go to waste) is that it is assembled the night before and baked in the morning. This makes things very easy on a cook who enjoys sleeping in. It’s just the thing for a breakfast when you’ve got a house full of guests. No muss. No fuss.

Serves 8

3 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
6 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced lengthwise halfway through and rinsed
1/2 pound wild mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon finely chopped organic garlic
1 pound, 2 bunches, fresh curly or flat-leaf organic spinach, stemmed
6 large organic eggs
2 1/2 cups organic whole milk or half and half
1 pound soft French bread or challah, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound organic feta cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with one tablespoon of the butter. Cut the leeks into 1 inch sections and then slice each section lengthwise into thin slices. In a large, heavy skillet with a tight fitting lid, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring, until slightly wilted. Add the mushrooms and a little salt and cook until the mushrooms begin to brown. Add the wine and garlic and stir. Lower the heat, add the spinach, and stir to coat. Cover the pan and continue to cook until the spinach is tender and wilted, checking occasionally. Set aside and drain the mixture in a colander to remove excess liquid.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and milk or half & half together along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Arrange half the bread cubes evenly in the baking dish. Sprinkle half the vegetable mixture evenly over the bread, followed by half the cheese. Top with the remaining bread, followed by the remaining vegetables and cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the bread evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and place a smaller dish or two plates on top of the baking dish to weight it. To increase the weight place some canned foods on top. This will help the egg soak into the bread. Refrigerate overnight.

Bake the bread pudding in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the eggs are set and the top brown.  Serve warm with fresh fruit.

Recipe Copyright 2008 Vanessa Barrington

Image: MintyFreshFlavor

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