Try this delicious alternative to Thanksgiving stuffing from The Whole Hog Cookbook by Libbie Summers.
Savory Mushroom and Bacon Bread Pudding
Yield: 6 Servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound thick-cut bacon
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 pounds cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, finely diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon rubbed dried sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
5 large eggs
3 cups half-and-half
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
8 cups day-old white bread (preferably challah bread), crusts on, torn into cubes
Warm Sage Butter (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with the butter and set aside.
In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon to a cutting board and chop. In same skillet over medium-high heat, add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up all brown bits as you stir. Stir in mushrooms, garlic, and herbs. Saute for 15 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender and browned. Remove from heat and stir in bacon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 3/4 cup of the cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add bread cubes and toss to coat. Let sit for 15 minutes.
Stir in the mushroom mixture and transfer the pudding to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top and bake for 40 to 60 minutes, until the pudding is browned and the center has puffed up. You may also bake the pudding in individual ramekins. If so, bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Drizzle with warm sage butter, if desired, just before serving.
Warm Sage Butter
Yield: 3/4 cup
1 1/2 sticks butter
6 sage leaves, chopped
Melt the butter over low heat and add sage. Simmer for 3 minutes.