Wake and Bake: Irish Cheddar and Vegetable Bread Pudding
It might seem like I'm here to give you a recipe for bread pudding, but I'm actually here to give you options. Option one: you make this for the St. Patrick's Day-weekend brunch you're planning. As a host, you'll appreciate how quickly the dish comes together and how easily it feeds a crowd, thus giving you more time to figure out a not-gross way to dye your mashed potatoes green. Option two: damage control. Because after a day of drinking (let's admit that this is what most people do) there's nothing that will suck up that booze faster than a big casserole filled with bread and cheese.
Seriously, though, I'll be making this savory bread pudding year-round. I love the combination of sharp cheddar with sautéed, lightly browned onions and carrots, and how said cheese gets all gooey and envelops the cubes of bread. The top crust gets toasty and a little crunchy, while the interior is not mushy but soft enough to cut through with a fork. Spinach adds the de facto green color, but also a vegetal flavor that cuts through the richness of the dish.
So, options 3, 4, 5: A new way to use up that stale loaf of bread, serve it at your next dinner party as a vegetarian main, or make it as a side for roast beast.
About the author: Carrie Vasios Mullins is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios