This blog post was sponsored by Stonefire Naan, but all opinions expressed are my own.
When most people hear bread pudding, they think of dessert. But there’s a whole other world of savory bread puddings and it’s pretty amazing. Savory bread pudding, also sometimes known as strata, is a casserole made with cubed bread, cheese and other ingredients like vegetables or meat, baked in an egg-based custard. This rich and elegant dish is equally suitable for the brunch or dinner table. It also makes an excellent side dish or vegetarian entrée for the holidays.
Savory bread puddings are perfect for entertaining and they definitely look very impressive when they emerge from the oven, puffed up and golden brown. They’re an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of dish and you can toss in whatever ingredients you have on hand in your pantry or fridge- leftover roasted veggies, shredded Rotisserie chicken, canned beans, you name it! And the best part is that they’re easy to make. In fact, you can assemble the whole thing the night before and simply pop it in the oven the next day when your guests come over.
myself and do something a little different. And I’m really excited about the end result! Every so often, I make a dish that turns out so good, it exceeds my expectations. As a recipe developer, those times are very exciting. My Savory Naan Bread Pudding with Spinach and Caramelized Onions is one of those dishes. I could barely wait for my husband to finish taking the photos before I dug into it because it smelled so good. And then I had to stop myself from devouring the whole dish!
Then I mixed the bread with caramelized onions, spinach, cheese, and herbs. Caramelized onions are one of my favorite things- I just think they make every dish better with their rich, sweet flavor. They take a little time to make but they’re oh so worth the effort. Just look at that deliciousness! For a quick tutorial on how to make caramelized onions, CLICK HERE.
The naan really soaks up the custard and as it bakes in the oven, infusing it with flavor and moisture. The end result is tender, creamy, and fluffy on the inside with a crispy, golden brown exterior. The caramelized onions are laced throughout the bread pudding, providing bites of sweet goodness. Combined with the savory spinach, earthy thyme, and salty Fontina cheese, it’s a perfect combination!
This rich and savory dish is perfect for entertaining- and you can assemble it all the night before!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large sweet onions (1½ pounds), thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 pieces Stonefire Tandoor Baked Naan (I used a combination of Whole Grain and Garlic)
- 1 box (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
- 4 ounces Fontina or other good melting cheese like Gruyere or sharp cheddar, grated (about 1 ½ cups)
- 8 eggs
- 2 cups milk (I used 2%)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme)
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the onions. Stir to coat all of the onions with oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, until they start to soften. Add ¼ teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Continue to cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown and caramelized, another 30-40 minutes. As they cook, scrape up the fond (the brown bits) on the bottom of the pan and mix it into the onions. If the onions start to burn or catch bottom, add a small amount of water to the pan. Once the onions are done, add the vinegar and stir to release all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
While the onions are cooking, cut the naan into 1-inch pieces (you should have about 9 cups) and place them in a large bowl. Add the spinach, caramelized onions, and almost all of the cheese, reserving a small amount for the topping. Stir to mix all of the ingredients together. Transfer the mixture to a large oval or 8x12-inch rectangular baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
Make the custard by whisking the eggs, milk, thyme, nutmeg, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients in the dish. Press down to submerge all of the bread in the liquid. Let the mixture sit while you preheat the oven to 350°F. Alternatively, at this point, the dish can be refrigerated overnight.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the bread pudding and transfer to the oven. Bake 45-50 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. Cool slightly, then cut into pieces and serve.