Kale and Bacon Bread Pudding
- SERVINGS: 12
This earthy, kale-studded variation on traditional bread stuffing should be made with baguettes that are at least 2 inches in diameter
- 1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 1/2 pounds kale, stems and tough ribs discarded, leaves coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 baguettes, cut into 3/4-inch dice (about 12 cups)
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
- 1 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- In a large deep skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the skillet. Add the onion and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the kale, a handful at a time, and cook, stirring, until completely wilted and just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the kale to a large bowl and toss with the bread.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 3-quart baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, cream, chicken stock and salt and pepper. Pour the custard over the bread and kale, add the bacon and toss well. Transfer the bread pudding to the prepared baking dish. Press plastic wrap directly on the bread and let stand at room temperature until the custard is absorbed, about 1 hour. Remove the plastic wrap.
- Bake the bread pudding for about 1 hour, or until the custard is set and the top is golden and crisp. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.