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Savory Bread Pudding Recipe with Butternut Squash

This past weekend was unseasonably cold around here in New Orleans. For two nights the temperature dipped in the upper 30’s. I know many of you suffer from this affliction called “winter” several months out of the year, but fortunately, it’s usually not too bad for us here. To help anyone with the winter blues, I’ve come up with a savory bread pudding recipe featuring our good old friend butternut squash.

Savory-Bread-Pudding-Recipe

The key flavor ingredients for this dish are of course butternut squash and also, parmesan cheese, fresh sage, minced garlic and French bread cubes.  This savory bread pudding recipe and method are highly reminiscent of any dessert bread pudding but with delicious, savory ingredients swapped for the sugar, chocolate and/or fruit. This vegetarian dish is just a bit indulgent with its bread base, but it’s still better for you than many things I can think of, actually. So let’s talk about ingredients and methods and what not, shall we?

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I used sage from my garden for this recipe. My little plant was looking sickly so I’ve transplanted it out of the perimeter of the cinder block garden and into its own pot. I think it was just staying too moist in the cinder block potting area. We’ve had that problem with several things. I’m going to keep my eye on the sage. So far the change in growing area seems to be positive.

Savory-Bread-Pudding-Recipe-Fresh-Sage

Overall, I find this recipe to be fairly easy to execute. But we do need to temper eggs in this recipe, and I’m not sure if all of you are familiar with that concept. To temper eggs means to slowly heat them by rapidly whisking in hot liquid a little at a time. This method is employed when making creme anglaise and other cream/egg based sauces. The raw eggs must be introduced to hot liquids a little at a time or they will curdle, and you’ll have something that looks like scrambled egg bits in your dish.

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Start by mixing my eggs really well and getting them nicely aerated. Using a regular kitchen ladle, whisk in a ladle full of the milk mixture at a time. Try to avoid picking up butternut squash chunks if you can help it. Once the eggs are heated through and their temperature has increased, the egg/milk mixture can successfully be poured into the pot where the milk, butternut squash and other ingredients have been simmering.

Once everything is well mixed, the newly formed custard base can be poured over the French bread cubes and Parmesan cheese. In a very gentle manner, the bread should be submerged in the liquid. You don’t want any dry pieces of bread or they will get rock-hard and be pretty inedible. Carefully use your fingertips to push down on the bread gently.

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When done, sprinkle the rest of the parmesan cheese over the uncooked dish, and then cover the dish with foil that’s been sprayed with non-stick spray. This step is very important because if you just put plain foil on, the Parmesan cheese will stick to the foil. And that will be a huge hassle for you to deal with. The bread pudding will rise and touch that foil so I highly recommend liberally spraying that foil with non-stick spray.

Savory-Bread-Pudding-Recipe-Slice

This does take about an hour to bake and then 20 minutes to cool so this is definitely not a quick-cooking recipe. In all, it’ll take about 2 hours from start to finish but just under half that time is active, the rest is just baking and cooling. The bread pudding will shrink as it cools and that’s okay. The bread is settling and the custard is finishing solidifying. Soon, it will be ready to chow down on.

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Are you hungry yet? I know I am… Let’s get to that recipe!

Yield: 6-8 servings

Butternut Squash Savory Bread Pudding Recipe

This savory bread pudding recipe features butternut squash along with sage, garlic and lots of Parmesan cheese for extra flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups diced onions (about 2 onions)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and large diced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (split into 1 cup and 1/2 cup)
  • 8 cups French bread cubes

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 ºF.
  2. Sauté the onions (with the salt and cayenne) on medium high heat for about 5 minutes, until they are soft and translucent.
  3. Add garlic and cook for another minute, until garlic is fragrant.
  4. Add the milk, butternut squash and sage to the pot. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Carefully temper the eggs with some of the hot milk. Once tempered, add egg mixture to pot and mix well. Turn off the heat on the pot.
  6. Place bread in a greased baking dish and top with a half cup of the parmesan cheese. Pour milk/squash mixture over and gently push down on bread to submerge it in the sauce. Sprinkle remaining cup of cheese on top.
  7. Bake 1 hour on covered with aluminum foil sprayed with non-stick spray. Let sit for 20 minutes to settle and solidfy.

Prep:25 minutes

Cook:1 hour, 40 minutes

Total:2 hours, 5 minutes

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