I love stratas and I love bread pudding, but I wanted to make them even more versatile by using leftovers and preparing it in a slow cooker. This recipe has a lot of prep, but you can do it any day of the week so that you’re ready to dump into the slow cooker the morning that you’ll be eating the dish. By then, I’ve already forgotten about the work anyway!
Thanksgiving Leftovers Bread Pudding
Makes 8-10 servings
- 8 cups bread cubes (I used whole wheat sourdough), 1.5 inches
- 1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into half moons
- 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 8 oz button mushrooms, quartered
- 10 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1.5 tsp pepper, divided
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp chopped sage, divided
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp fresh thyme, divided
- 0.5 pounds green beans, trimmed into 1 inch pieces
- 1 Bartlett pear, peeled and diced
- 1 cup whole cranberries
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp flour
- ½ cup white wine
- 3.5 cups chicken stock
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
- ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
- Put the bread cubes on a sheet pan and cover with a towel. Let sit overnight to get stale.
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF
- Toss the parsnips, butternut squash, and mushrooms with 4 Tbsp olive oil, 1 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper. Spread on a sheet pan and roast 30 min.
- In a medium pot filled with ½ inch water and a steamer basket, steam the green beans for 5 min until just bright green.
- Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute onion. After 20 min, add 1 Tbsp sage, 1 Tbsp thyme, and ¼ tsp salt. Saute another 15 min until caramelized then remove to a bowl.
- To make the loose gravy, add 4 Tbsp olive oil to the empty skillet and cook garlic 1 min until fragrant.
- Add 1 tsp thyme and 1 tsp sage and cook another minute without burning
- Whisk in the flour, 1.5 tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper for 30 seconds
- Slowly whisk in the wine until smooth, 30 seconds
- Slowly whisk in the broth to avoid lumps
- Turn the heat up to high, bring to a boil and cook for 10 min
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs, 2 cups gravy, parmesan
- Gently fold in 8 cups bread cubes, ½ cup cooked onions, 1 cup cooked mushrooms, 1 cup cooked parsnips, 1.5 cups cooked squash, 1 cup green beans, diced pear, and cranberries
- Pour into a slow cooker and press down pretty well on the top to adhere
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours, ideally removing the lid for the last hour to let some liquid evaporate
- Serve topped with the toasted pumpkin seeds and almonds
I was not a huge fan of this recipe. The bread got too soft – possibly because the gravy was too thin or because the cook time was too long. Additionally, my choice of a sourdough as the bread really drove the flavor profile of the whole dish towards quite sour. In the future, I think it would be greatly improved just by using something neutral like a country loaf. The pears also faded into the background so I would probably leave them out in the future.