Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday I was talking about how to make last minute Easter brunch recipes? How it’s already November, I have no idea but I’m welcoming it with open arms because it’s definitely near the top of my list for favorite months. As we all know November/December are fabulous months for cooking and what can I say, I’m taking full advantage. Picking the perfect menu for Thanksgiving can be challenging, but I’m here to help simplify it for you. This month I’ll be sharing some of my own recipes, and some from my favorite chefs so you can mix and match to make a 5-star Thanksgiving dinner. First on my list is Ina Garten’s Mushroom and Leek Bread Pudding. It’s first on my list for one reason, it’s a MUST on your Thanksgiving table.
This dish would make a great substitute for stuffing/dressing, whatever you want to call it. For me though, I love the traditional variety so I will be serving both dishes. Call me crazy. Thick chunks of bread soak up the sauce which is filled with heavy cream, Gruyere cheese, mushrooms and other delectable ingredients. When people talk about having a bite of heaven, this is what they’re talking about. You’ve done it again Ina, I even like eating this cold, straight from the dish.
6 cups (1/2-inch-diced) bread cubes from a rustic country loaf, crusts removed
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, small-diced
4 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts (4 leeks)
1 1/2 pounds cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and 1/4-inch-sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 cup medium or dry sherry
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (6 ounces), divided