Recipe Review

Ina Garten’s Make-Ahead Mushroom and Leek Bread Pudding Is the Perfect Answer to Soggy Stuffing

published Nov 17, 2021
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Credit: The Kitchn

It’s never too early to start preparing for Thanksgiving, and Ina Garten is here to help. This week on Instagram, our favorite cook is sharing delectable recipes you can make ahead of your holiday gathering and heat up for the meal — and let’s just say her ideas are looking so tasty that you might not want to wait until Thanksgiving to whip them up. 

Most recently, Ina shared her spin on a Thanksgiving favorite: mushroom and leek bread pudding. “Instead of a soggy stuffing in the turkey, I make this savory bread pudding that’s crisp on the top and so moist inside,” she posted on November 16. “It’s classic flavors of pancetta, mushrooms, and Gruyère. You can assemble it early in the day and bake it before dinner. Now I can’t wait until Thanksgiving!”

If you’re as eager to get started as we are, you can find the recipe (pulled from the Barefoot Contessa Foolproof cookbook) on Ina’s website. Most of the ingredients are pretty straightforward, but Ina suggests making your own chicken stock, which you may want to do ahead of time.

Once you have everything on hand, the process shouldn’t take more than an hour or two. You’ll need to brown your bread cubes; sauté the pancetta, leeks, and mushroom with some herbs; and then combine the ingredients with all the creamy dairy products. Then, keep the bread pudding covered in your refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it. 

An hour or so before you’re ready to eat, transfer the bread pudding mixture to a three-quart gratin dish, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and bake until the top is browned and the custard is set. 

Ina’s Instagram followers were as excited as we are to try out this savory make-ahead dish. “Game-changer for Thanksgiving! Stuffing was never my favorite growing upm but this is a magical dish!” one person commented. Another commenter shared an amazing idea for a substitution: “Ina truly making the holidays bright again. Can’t wait to try this! Maybe even artichokes instead of leeks for a hearty twist.”

If you’re still on the hunt for more ideas for Thanksgiving to add to Ina’s creation, don’t worry — we’ve got your back! Check out this year’s Thanksgiving Food Fest for all the inspiration you’ll need.