Generally, you’ll want to use the lighter parts of the leek because that is where the flavor is.
The darker parts are great for stock, no need to waste any part.
As you will discover, between the layers, there may be flecks of dirt. Sometimes even clumps.
An easy way to remove the dirt is to soak the sliced leeks in a bowl of tepid water for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Most of the dirt will fall to the bottom. Remove them with tongs or with your hands careful not to stir up the dirt that falls to the bottom.
In the meantime, cut up the bread in 1 inch cubes and toast in the oven on a sheet pan for 15- 20 mins until brown and dry.
Once the bread cubes are in the oven, make the egg mixture.
Crack three large eggs in a medium sized bowl.
Whisk well and add milk or half and half …..and whisk some more.
You may be tempted to use all half and half, or heavy cream.
I’ve done this, and it was WAY too rich for me, but do as you please.
Add salt, thyme, chives, nutmeg and white pepper.
Grate some gruyere or gouda.
By now your leeks should be deliciously tender …
Place your toasted bread in a large bowl and add the leeks.
Grease your baking dishes. You could do this in one large deep 9 x 13 baking dish or several smaller ones. I have even done them in small individual sized ramekins as well.
Layer cheese and bread leak mixture. Pour enough custard over the top while gently pressing down the bread so it soaks in the custard. Let sit 10 minutes and pour the remaining custard allowing some of the bread cubes to protrude.
Top with the remaining cheese, and a sprinkling of salt.
Savory Leek Bread Pudding
Savory Leek Bread Pudding- a comforting vegetarian side dish perfect for specia dinners or the holiday table. (Adapted from Thomas Keller’s recipe- but a little lighter!)
- Prep Time: 45 mins
- Cook Time: 90 mins
- Total Time: 2 hours 15 mins
- Yield: 8
- Category: side dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: French
- 3 cups leeks (about 3-4 leeks depending on size)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 12 cups bread cubes ( about one large french bread loaf)
- 1 Tablespoon chives or scallions
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
- 4 large eggs
- 4 cups milk
- 2 cups half and half
- ½ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
- 1 ½ cups shredded gruyere, gouda, or comte or emmentaler cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Cut leeks into 1/2 inch rounds using only white and lighter green parts and place in a bowl of luke warm water to remove dirt. Mix several times and let dirt settle to the bottom. Set a skillet on med high heat. Lift leeks format the water, drain and addd them to the un-oiled pan. Season with salt and stir for 5 minutes. As leeks begin to soften, lower the heat to med- low. Stir in the butter and olive oil and cover the pan, stirring every 10 minutes for 30-35mins, until tender.
- Meanwhile, cut the bread into 1 inch cubes and toast on a sheet pan for 20 mins until golden and dry. You may need to mix or turn mid-way so they are evenly browned. Transfer to large bowl.
- Grate 1 ½ cups of cheese. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk 4 eggs. Add milk and half and half. (Don’t be temped to use all half and half, it will turn out very rich) Whisk. Add salt, thyme, chives, pinch of fresh nutmeg and white pepper. Whisk.
- Add your now tender buttery leaks to the toasted bread and toss well.
- Grease your baking dish and sprinkle the bottom with ½ cup cheese. Spread 1/2 of the leek and bread mixture in the pan and sprinkle with ½ cup more of the cheese. Add the rest of leek mixture to the pan. Mix the custard once more and carefully pour enough of it to cover the bread mixture, gently pressing on the cubes of bread allowing it to soak in. Let sit 10 mins.
- Then add remaining custard, allowing some of the bread cubes to protrude. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and bake in the middle of the oven until nicely puffed and lightly browned about 1 1/2 hours.
- Calories: 365
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