Sunday, November 23, 2008

Anarchy on Thanksgiving

I know. You're going to tell me that there would be anarchy at your Thanksgiving table if you didn't serve the stuffing you've been eating for generations. What-no green been casserole with cream of mushroom soup and those crispy fried onions? And the dried out turkey! Would it really be Thanksgiving with out that good ol' dried out turkey?

Thanksgiving dinner is a funny one. You get barraged with the "Thanksgiving Issue" of every food magazine in existence. Your local paper fills its pages with recipe after recipe of innovative ways to cook all the old standards. Everything looks SO good. But you just can't do it. You think about it. You try-you really do. But, when push comes to shove, this is the night that really is like all other nights. People go crazy when anything changes at this meal.

I'm looking forward to my Thanksgiving this year. We're visiting my brother-in-law in NYC and everyone coming to dinner is bringing something (although he and D are cooking a lot). This way we have a little bit of everyone's tradition and who knows, maybe we'll find something we love so much it shows up again at another Thanksgiving.

If you really want to be adventurous and try something new, here's an idea. Mushroom and Gruyere Bread Pudding instead of stuffing. I made this recipe up tonight with stuff I had in the fridge and let me tell you...delish! I roasted a chicken and made a quick pan gravy and when I dragged that bread pudding into the gravy it reminded me of the same old trick on Thanksgiving-I loved it.

For those of you willing to risk the anarchy, here it is. Otherwise, skip it this Thursday but definitely try it.

Mushroom and Gruyere Bread Pudding

3 eggs
1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tbs minced Italian parsley leaves
coarse (Kosher) salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 loaf (half-pound) Pugliese bread cut into 1-inch pieces (or whatever sturdy bread is lying around)
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3/4 to 1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced (whatever kind you have-I just used white buttons)
1/2 cup Port (sherry, madiera, or marsala would work great too-even red or white wine)
2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, and sour cream. Add the parsley, a generous pinch each of salt and pepper, and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Stir well to combine, add the bread, and stir to coat. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 5-6 minutes. Add the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until they begin to release their moisture, 3-4 minutes more. Add the thyme and Port and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced completely, 4-5 minutes more. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and butter a 9-inch square baking dish.

Stir the mushroom mixture into the bread mixture. Transfer it to the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere.
Recipe can be prepared up to this point, covered and refrigerated up to 6 hours. Bring the dish to room temp before cooking (about 1 hour on the counter before it goes in the oven).

Bake until the bread pudding is nicely browned on top and bubbling around the edges, 20-25 minutes.

Serves 6-8

1 comment:

angiecholmes said...

Ooh...just finally catching up on your great blog, Jod. I cannot wait to make this bread pudding...sounds AMAZING and so wintery. Thanks for ALL of you fabulous tips and insight. I'm hungry just reading about all of this! Miss you.

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