Savory Bacon, Leek and Thyme Bread Pudding

Savory bread pudding is a delicious and versatile side dish. By flavoring it with different combinations of herbs and vegetables it can complement a variety of roasted meats and poultry. This version calls for bits of thick-cut bacon, sliced leeks sautéed in butter and an ample amount of fresh thyme. We served it with our Buttermilk Brined Roasted Turkey. Because it’s baked in a water bath it has a fluffy, custard like texture that makes a nice change from traditional bread stuffing.

Savory Bacon, Leek and Thyme Bread Pudding

Savory Bacon, Leek and Thyme Bread Pudding

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This savory bread pudding flavored with bacon, buttery leeks, and fresh thyme makes a great side dish and a nice alternative to bread stuffing.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cubed bread, preferably Brioche or Challah
  • 8 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Boiling water

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  • Fry the bacon in a large pan over medium heat until brown and cooked through, but not too crispy. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and pour off all but 1 teaspoon of the fat from the pan.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with the remaining bacon fat and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add the leeks and cook until soft and tender, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the bacon pieces back to the pan, stir in the thyme and season the mixture to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and add the bacon-leek mixture.
  • Combine the milk with the melted butter and slowly pour the mixture over the bread cubes while tossing gently with a large spoon.
  • Once the bread is evenly moistened, add a little more salt and pepper to taste. Add the beaten eggs and combine gently.
  • Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish and allow it to sit for 20 minutes.
  • After the resting period, set the dish inside a larger, deeper pan.
  • Put the pan in the oven, then pour enough boiling water into the outer pan to come about halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
  • Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the pudding is set and a butter knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven, discard the water, cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and keep warm until ready to serve.

Tips for Making This Recipe

Recipe Notes:

For best results, cut your bread into 3/4-inch cubes. We recommend leaving the crust on your bread. It adds a variety of texture and extra flavor.
If you’d like more information on cooking in a bain-marie (water bath), read our article on the topic in the "Cooking Tips" section of the site.
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