It has been absolutely POURING here. I actually love rainy weather, but it is hardly conducive to starting a January juice cleanse or an attempt at clean eating. With weather like this, I need food that is cooked slowwww in a hot oven. I have also recently been trying to adapt some of my favorite restaurant recipes. My weekends are certainly different than they were in my early twenties. Sundays are now spent pouring over cookbooks and testing out half brained ideas on well known classics.
Which brings me to this dish. This is based on a secret recipe from San Francisco’s famous Tartine Bakery. It’s kind of a soufflé, kind of a pudding, and kind of amazing.
I’m not going to lie, there is a lot of prep work involved here, including using two skillets and a large bowl before you even get to the final cooking vessel. However, the payoff for all your hard work is a cheesy, crunchy, custardy, savory dish that even mushroom haters will love. This is so versatile and can be a heavy brunch, fancy side dish for a large dinner party, or a main dinner item if served with something else, such as my dad’s famous caesar salad. This is another one of my dishes that dinner guests rave as a “top five” of mine. The best part is that you can assemble the whole thing well in advance, refrigerate, bring to room temperature, and then shove in the oven as friends arrive.
A final note: you can make this vegetarian by omitting the ham, obviously. Enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 leeks, white parts only, chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Olive oil
- 2 pounds mushrooms, stems trimmed and caps halved (any kind will do, but a little bit of chanterelles and porcini go a long way)
- 1 head radicchio, leaves whole but separated (I prefer Treviso)
- 10 large eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (yes, I am specifying fresh and not pre-ground)
- 4 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, whole
- 1 1/2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese
- 3 ounces smoked ham, chopped (deli meat is fine)
- About half a loaf of day old sourdough, torn into large chunks (you need enough to cover the entire bottom of the Dutch oven)
- Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, then add the leeks and sauté until soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook, stirring until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from the heat and set aside.
- Heat a second large, heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the entire bottom. When the oil is almost smoking, add the mushrooms and cook until seared, about 2-3 minutes. Add the radicchio, stir, and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and salt until totally blended, then pour in the cream, milk, pepper, nutmeg, thyme, cheddar, and ham, whisking until totally combined and custard-like.
- Place the bread chunks in a 12 inch, 6 quart Dutch oven so that the pieces are almost overlapping and snuggly fit together, covering the entire bottom.
- Pour the leaks and mushroom/radicchio mix on top of the bread and toss to combine.
- Pour in the custard so that it comes to the top of the pudding.
- Sprinkle the Gruyère on top, add a pinch more salt, and a crack of pepper.
- Let the pudding stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- Bake 1 hour, turn heat up to 375°, and cook until the center is no longer runny, about 15-20 more minutes.
- Let the pudding rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Serves 6 -8