SERVES 8 TO 10
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the bread cubes in a single layer on 2 sheet pans and bake for about 20 minutes, tossing once, until toasted. Set aside.
In a large heavy-bottomed pan over low heat, melt the butter Add the leeks and celery, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. Uncover and add half the salt and pepper. Add the sherry and stir and scrape to deglaze the pan deposits. Stir in the parsley.
In a very large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, chicken stock and 1½ cups of the Gruyère. Thoroughly stir in the bread cubes, vegetable mixture, and remaining salt and pepper.
Butter a large casserole, pour in the bread pudding mixture, and set aside for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining Gruyère and bake uncovered in the 350°F oven until the top is browned and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve hot.
Little did I realize when we were invited to the Soderberg’s home in Florida to taste Peter’s Grilled Brined Pork Chops, that his wife Elsa would produce the side dish hit of the year. It’s the most delicious savory bread pudding, inspired by an Ina Garten recipe, that left us speechless.
8 cups brioche bread, crusts trimmed, crumb cut into ¾-inch cubes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the casserole
4 cups thoroughly washed and sliced leeks, about 3 large leeks
1½ chopped celery
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup dry or cream sherry
½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
7 extra-large eggs
2½ cups heavy cream
1½ cups The Essential Homemade Chicken Stock, or good-quality canned chicken stock or broth
2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese (about 6 ounces)