These are the days for slow cooking. I’m taking a little more time to caramelize onions and maybe slow roast a whole chicken. There’s time for all of it. Lately, I’m finding time to even sit on my stoop and do nothing. It feels like there is a definite line of before and after this virus. Pre-coronavirus, I rarely took the time to simply sit and listen. In this time of uncertainty, there is so much more gratitude and awareness. It’s funny how the lack of control can actually ease my anxiety.
The unexpected delights of this otherwise terrible situation are small but mighty. The birds I see bicker every day in my tree. The rabbits who sit and munch on grass in the back yard, for whom I left a knobby little carrot. The neighbors who take walks by my house daily and wave. Those who wear masks in the grocery, as an outward act of love toward those around them. How did I never notice all the beauty and goodness and love surrounding me until now?
I can’t ignore the strong smell of onions slowly browning in olive oil. It’s always been a smell I loved, but isn’t it the little things that are getting us through this? This lovely rich bread pudding is a comfort food. The beautiful spongy sourdough soaks up all the delicious custard and browns perfectly on top for a crispy top and a rich soft bottom layer. If you’ve never made bread pudding, my savory version is a great way to use up leftover sourdough. I made my version with deeply caramelized onions and sauteed kale for the perfect savory flavor. See the full recipe below.
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 loaf sourdough, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 medium onions (red or yellow), thinly sliced
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 bunch curly kale, chopped, stems removed
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups milk
- 6 eggs
- 2 tsp diamond kosher salt (plus more for seasoning)
- fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease the inside of a 9x13 dish or other 3 quart baking dish with the butter. Add your cubed sourdough to the dish. Set aside.
- In a dutch oven or other large skillet over medium heat, add your 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the onions and add a couple pinches of salt. Cook over medium, stirring frequently for 30-45 minutes or until your onions are dark brown but not burned. Add the vinegar and stir. Remove the onions to a large bowl.
- In the same pot you cooked the onions, over medium heat, add the kale with a couple pinches of salt. Cook until the kale is slightly wilted and bright green, about 2 minutes. Remove the kale to the same bowl as the onions and stir to combine. Add the onion kale mixture to the baking pan filled with bread. Use a wooden spoon to stir and evenly disperse the onion kale mixture and the bread cubes in the baking dish.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, milk, eggs, fresh ground pepper and 2 tsp kosher salt. Pour over the bread cubes and gently press the bread into the egg to soak in the liquid. Let the dish sit for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 45 minutes or until it is browned, and a knife comes out clean when inserted. Let it cool for 20 minutes before serving.