Arugula, Bacon, and Gruyère Bread Pudding

I’ve been in a slump (sort of) lately.  Life brings in different angst and outrage, but as humans with conscious we try to tackle and work with those difficult life situations.  However, by dealing with those situations you end up using up most of your energy and what’s left behind seems like masticated pulp after it goes through a juicer. 

Anyway, I seem to have lost the curiosity and creative energy for my cooking, but life goes on and I still have to cook.  Don’t worry, I go through this slump here and there, but believe me, recovery is soon to happen!

In a meantime, my husband bought focaccia with herbs from a very reputable bakery.  He got carried away and bought 2 because it was towards the end of the day and they were selling these for half off.  After biting into the focaccia our whole family wasn’t too thrilled.  We just didn’t like the taste (the bread itself was still fresh, but I think it was the combination of herbs they put in).  No one wanted to eat this, and I couldn’t waste the bread just because we all hated it!!  Well, to make the long story short, I found this wonderful (but rich) savory bread pudding recipe on Epicurious, and here it is!

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This will yield 4 main or 6 sides:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 5 large eggs
  • 6 bacon slices
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 7 ounces baby arugula or baby spinach (6 1/2 cups)
  • 6 cups cubed (1-inch) country-style bread (1 pound)
  • 5 1/2 ounces Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated (1 1/2 cups)

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Butter a 2-qt shallow baking dish.
Whisk together milk, cream, eggs, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp. Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain, then coarsely crumble.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Increase heat to medium-high and cook shallot and garlic, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Gradually add arugula and cook, stirring, until it wilts.

Stir arugula mixture, bacon, bread, and cheese into custard. Transfer to baking dish and cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake until golden in spots, about 10 minutes more.

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My opinion:

I used spinach and focaccia for this recipe.  This is an absolutely divine savory bread pudding with all of our favorites (eggs, cream, bacon and yes, spinach!!).  However, let me warn you in advance – it is very rich!!!   Since this is rich and savory, it can stand on its own without having other dishes.  Great breakfast food!  I made this for a weekend brunch, but if you want to have this during the weekday just pre-cook the bacon, spinach and onions the night before.  Combine everything in the morning and pop in the oven.  I’m tempted to say you can even make this the night before and reheat in the morning. 

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