Sometimes a little decadence doesn't hurt. Especially, when the temperature outside begins to drop. When cold weather starts to seep into my bones, rich and comforting food is the only thing on the brain.
With that in mind, I present this humble bread pudding. Not just for dessert, bread pudding can make a great savory meal to enjoy with friends. A little know-how is all you need for this dish. It is very, very easy to make and the end result is overwhelmingly satisfying. Here's how:
1/2 loaf of bread, torn into bite sized pieces
1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup milk
3 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 tbsp butter, plus extra for greasing
fresh parsley, for garnish.
salt and pepper to taste
Begin by soaking the mushrooms in enough warm water to cover. Let the mushrooms rehydrate for at least 30 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, but reserve the water. Squeeze the excess water from the mushrooms and cut into strips. Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a large bowl, combine mushrooms, bread, rosemary, salt, pepper, milk, and eggs. Stir to combine well. Grease the inside of your cooking vessel (loaf pan, small casserole, or any other ovenproof dish) with butter. Pour mixture in and roughly level the surface. Place the entire cooking vessel inside a larger casserole dish. In the larger casserole dish, add enough water to come up to the same level as the bread pudding. Slide the whole thing into the oven and bake for 30 min, or until done. You can check by inserting the tip of a knife into the pudding. If it comes out clean, you are done.
While the pudding is in the oven, turn your attention to the reserved mushroom-infused water. Take the water and begin to reduce it on the stove. The amount of time spent on reducing will depend on how much water you used originally. Reduce until it is just a few tablespoons. Stir in the butter until well melted. Pour with over the pudding just before serving. Garnish with a little parsley and serve.