Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding with Cambozola Cheese
3 tablespoons butter (plus 2 tsp)
2 cups onions (about 2 large), chopped
1 1/2 lb mushrooms (mix of shiitake caps & cremini), sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 cup Madeira
1 can rich beef broth (10 1/2 oz)
1 cup heavy cream or creme fraiche
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
9 ounces peasant or hearty whole-wheat bread, stale or oven dried, cut
into 3/4-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
8 ounces Cambozola cheese (rind trimmed), cut in 1/2" pieces
Heat 1 Tbsp of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the onions and season with a little salt & pepper; cook until
tender, 5 to 7 min. remove the onions and set aside. In the same
skillet, heat another 1 Tbsp butter. Add half of the mushrooms
and season with 1/4 tsp marjoram, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.
Cook over high heat until the mushrooms are browned and all the
liquid has been evaporated, 5 to 7 min. Set aside with the onions.
Repeat with the remaining mushrooms, using another 1 Tbsp butter,
and more of same seasonings. When the mushrooms are brown, add
the first batch of cooked mushrooms and onions back into the skillet.
Add the Madeira. cook, stirring frequently, over high heat until
the liquid evaporates and the mixture is a rich brown, about 5 min.
Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Heat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, whisk together the broth,
cream, eggs, egg yolks, thyme, and the remaining 1/2 tsp marjoram,
1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Add the bread and the mushroom
mixture to the custard; toss. Let sit for 30 min., stirring
occasionally, to saturate the bread. Gently stir in the cheese.
Brush a 2-qt (or 9x13-inch) baking dish evenly with remaining 2
tsp butter. Pour the bread mixture into the baking dish, distributing
the ingredients evenly. Bake in the hot oven until lightly browned
and firm, 40 to 45 min. (Alternatively, butter eight 1-cup ramekins
and divide the bread mixture among them. Bake until lightly browned
and firm, 30 to 35 min.)