Monday, December 12, 2016

chicken, date, almond & olive bread pudding

Sometimes I think I would be great on Chopped. Then I realize I'd probably be that fool that just makes bread pudding out of everything. Bread pudding may not be a good cooking competition strategy, but it's a good life strategy. One of my favorite things to eat for dinner, and a great way to reduce food waste by using up bread and anything else you might have in your pantry. The pantry item that inspired me this time was dates. So sweet, yet they go so well with savory ingredients. This Moroccan-inspired bread pudding is a flavor festival... savory, sweet, a bit of tartness from goat cheese, rich spices. It's got the familiar comfort of a Midwestern casserole with the flavors of the mid-east. 

Chicken, Date, Almond & Olive Bread Pudding
-1 Tablespoon olive oil
-1 lb. ground chicken
-3 shallots, chopped
-1/2 teaspoon cumin
-1/2 teaspoon turmeric
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-salt and pepper to taste
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 cup chopped dates
-1/2 cup almonds, chopped
-1/2 cup green pitted olives, chopped
-small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
-about 6 cups of crusty bread cubes (from a small loaf or about half a large loaf)
 -6 large eggs
-3 cups milk
-4 oz. goat cheese

Preheat the oven to 400ยบF. In a large skillet, cook the chicken in the olive oil until no longer pink. add the shallots and spices and cook until the shallots are just translucent and the spices are fragrant. Stir in the garlic and remove from heat. Stir in the dates, olives, almonds and cilantro. Set aside. Place the bread cubes in a greased 9" x 13" casserole dish. Spread the chicken mixture over the bread evenly, slightly tossing to combine. Beat the eggs with the milk and pour over the bread and meat. Press down lightly so all the bread is wet. Let sit 5-10 minutes so the bread can soak up the egg mixture. Crumble the goat cheese evenly over the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes until edges and top are brown and the middle is set. Serve hot with fresh cilantro for garnish.

Related recipes from the archives:
Fennel Bacon Bread Pudding
Savory Bread Pudding with Raisins and Bacon
Sausage Fennel Bread Pudding
Savory Stuffed French Toast
Baked Shrimp with Feta
Delicious Dubai
Baked Blue Cheese Fig Balls
Moroccan Lamb Meatballs with Figs
Fig Pistachio Goat Cheese Spread