Serves 6 – 8
Parsnips give an earthy dimension to this savory bread pudding that melds cubes of brioche, grated cheese, and thyme. The vegetarian dish is yummy enough to sub for traditional stuffing. Assemble the night before, and bake it the day of the meal.
1 pound parsnips, peeled (optional), and cut into ½-inch pieces
olive oil for drizzling
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus 3 tablespoons melted, plus more for dish
2 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved, thinly sliced and rinsed well (about 3 cups)
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 cups heavy cream
5 large eggs
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 loaf brioche, crust removed and bread cut into 1-inch cubes (you can use other bread if you so desire)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle parsnips with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, shaking occasionally, until caramelized and tender, about 20 – 25 minutes. Let cool. Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a medium sauté pan until melted. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add wine and return to heat. Let simmer until reduced, 1 – 2 minutes. Add thyme, and remove from heat. Stir in roasted parsnips.
3. Whisk together melted butter, heavy cream, eggs, and ¾ cup Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add leek-parsnip mixture, then fold in bread (mixture can be refrigerated overnight).
4. Butter a shallow 2–quart baking dish, and pour parsnip mixture into dish. Cover loosely with parchment paper then foil. Bake until golden brown and puffed, about 50 minutes. Remove parchment paper and foil. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, and return to oven. Bake for 10 minutes more. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.