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Savoury Bread Pudding with Mushrooms and Kale

January 31, 2016

Kale. It’s starting to get tiresome, isn’t it? The fact that it’s chock-full of nutrients, how versatile it is, now it’s seen as a trendy food. Once relegated to the category of snobbish foodies who massaged their kale before tossing it raw in salads, now the audience for kale has widened. The hype continues, however, with this recipe.

I’ve been a fan of kale for the last several years. Growing up in Hong Kong, I’d never even heard of kale until I came to London. And it wasn’t until I started cooking for myself in second year of university that I knew what it was. To be honest, the only reason I tried kale was because it was dirt cheap in Tesco and it came pre-washed. It also didn’t wilt into a pile of nothing like spinach. It’s not quite dirt cheap anymore, now that kale-hype has peaked, but it’s still one of my favourite vegetables.

This is one of those recipes where you can substitute almost any leftover greens languishing in your fridge. For me, it was mushrooms and kale – an unexciting but staple combination in my diet. Add in some sharp cheddar and custardy bread, flecked with bits of crispy burnt cheddar (shh…I love them), and you have a perfect comfort food to eat out of a bowl after a long day. I threw this together after working 11 hours at the lab on a Saturday, so quantities aren’t very accurate!

Savoury Bread Pudding with Mushrooms and Kale

  • 100 g kale, shredded
  • 100 g white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • About 400 g stale bread, cubed
  • 100 g sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 400 ml milk
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of cream cheese
  • pinch of dried herbs – I used thyme and sage

Heat up a pat of butter in a skillet, and when foamy, toss the sliced mushrooms in with a pinch of salt. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are starting to brown, then transfer to a plate. Toss in another pat of butter and fry the minced shallots until the aroma is so delicious you can’t bear it, then add the kale with a splash of water. Season with salt and cook until the kale has wilted and water has evaporated. Remove from heat and set aside.

Grease a deep roasting dish with butter and fill with bread cubes (if you freeze the ends of your bread like me, place them in a 170C/150C fan oven for 5 minutes to dry them out a bit first), sprinkling most of the grated cheese on top. Reserve a handful of cheese to go on top of your bread pudding, though! That is essential if you want crispy browned cheddar bits. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, herbs, cream cheese, and a good pinch of salt together.

Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and add the now-cooled kale and mushroom. Mix well – use your hands if your bread pudding threatens to spill over the sides of the dish like mine did! – and sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top. If you can bear the wait, leave to rest for an hour before baking. I didn’t (in my defense I came home at 8:30pm), and it still turned out great, so it’s not essential. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 1 hour at 150C (fan) oven, uncovering the dish for the last 10 minutes.

Enjoy warm.

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