Thursday, February 18, 2010

Red Swiss Chard & Goat Cheese Bread Pudding

Serves 10-12

1 large loaf French bread, sliced into 1/2 inch cubes
3 bunches red swiss chard
1/4 cup butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbl fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
3 Tbl red wine vinegar
6 large eggs
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 cup + 1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 # goat cheese, crumbled
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Arrange the cubed bread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Place in the oven and toast very lightly, about 7-10 minutes, not allowing it to color, just to dry it out a bit.  Remove from the oven, cool and reserve.  

To prepare the swiss chard, trim off any discolored stems or leaves.  Separate the green leaves from the red stems by slicing down the length of the stem, along both sides.  Tear the leaves into large pieces.  Wash the leaves in several changes of cool water. Drain and reserve.  Slice the stems into half-inch pieces.  Rinse, drain and reserve.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion, season with a good pinch of salt and a good few grinds of pepper, and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the sliced chard stems and cook until tender, about 5-10 minutes more.   Add the garlic, thyme and crushed red pepper and cook about 2-3 minutes.  Add half of the chard leaves and stir to combine with the onions and stems.  Cook about 1 minute until it begins to wilt, then add the rest of the chard and stir to combine.  Cook until wilted and tender, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add vinegar and stir to combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cook until the liquid evaporates.  Remove from heat and cool for about 15 minutes. 

Add the eggs to a large bowl and scramble with a fork.  Add the cream, milk and and 1 cup grated parmesan.  Stir to combine.  Add the bread cubes, the chard mixture and the crumbled goat cheese and stir to mix completely.  If the bread doesn’t absorb all the custard right away, allow it to rest in the bowl for about 15 minutes to half an hour.  When all the custard is soaked up, pour the mixture into a 9x13” casserole dish.  Sprinkle evenly with the remaining grated parmesan.  At this point the bread pudding can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated until needed, up to one day, or baked immediately. 

Bake in a 350°F oven, uncovered, until custard is firm, and and the top is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow it to cool about 10 minutes.  Slice and serve hot.




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