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Bacon Tomato Bread Pudding

Chef Kieron Hales | June 22, 2021

This is a Hales’ household favorite and a wonderful way to use up bread ends and any trimmings you might have saved up. The recipe uses a delicious tomato sauce, classically made by cooking tomatoes in a base of pork fat, aromatics, and stock until it reduces into a thick sauce. For those looking for a meatless option, use the vegetarian sauce and skip the bacon in the bread pudding. This recipe makes for a fun, savory breakfast or hearty lunch year round and is always a crowd pleaser!

Level
Intermediate
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours
Serves
8-10
Cook it With Our
Bacon Tomato Bread Pudding

Ingredients

Meat Sauce:
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, roughly diced
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly diced
  • 2 ounces prosciutto / bacon
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 13 cloves garlic, puréed
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 72 ounces canned peeled tomatoes
  • 32 ounces chicken stock
  • 1 ham bone (optional)
  • 10 sprigs fresh parsley
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (for seasoning)
Vegetarian Sauce:
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 10 sprigs thyme
  • 13 cloves garlic, puréed
  • 72 ounces canned peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cups white wine
  • ¼ cup sherry
Bread Pudding:
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium sized onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup celery, diced (about 2 stalks)
  • 8 pieces smoked bacon, roughly chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, puréed
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 6 sprigs oregano, picked
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf of challah, cut in half lengthwise then sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Meat Sauce:
  1. Place a heavy bottom pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the oil, onion, carrots, celery, and prosciutto to the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes until tender.
  3. Meanwhile, roughly chop the fresh thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf and place in a small coffee grinder with the salt. Blend until it forms into a salt consistency (if you don’t have a coffee grinder, you can pick the thyme and roughly chop the leaves).
  4. Add this to the onion mix and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add puréed garlic to the pan and cook for an additional 5-8 minutes.
  6. Roughly chop the canned tomatoes and add (including the juice) to the onion mix. Bring to a boil, then add the chicken stock and ham bone (optional).
  7. Place in the oven for 1 ½-2 hours with the lid slightly ajar.
  8. Remove from the oven and finely chop the parsley to add to the sauce.
  9. It is ready to go, but if you want a smooth sauce, pour into a Vitamix or blender and purée for 10 seconds at high speed.
  10. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Vegetarian Option:
  1. Place a heavy bottom pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the oil and onions to the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes until the onions are tender and translucent.
  3. Meanwhile, roughly chop the fresh thyme and place in a small coffee grinder with the salt. Blend until it forms into a salt consistency (if you don’t have a coffee grinder, you can roughly chop the thyme).
  4. Add this to the onions and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add puréed garlic to the pan and cook for an additional 5-8 minutes.
  6. Roughly chop the canned tomatoes and add these (including the juice) to the onions. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. Add the white wine and sherry. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Pour into a Vitamix or blender and puree for 10 seconds at high speed.
  9. Taste and adjust seasoning. 
Bread Pudding: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Place a heavy bottom pan over medium heat.
  3. Add oil, onions, and celery to the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes until onions are tender and translucent.
  4. Add in roughly chopped bacon and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the puréed garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, roughly chop rosemary and bay leaf, then place in a small coffee grinder with the kosher salt. Blend until it forms into a salt consistency (if you don’t have a coffee grinder, you can roughly chop the rosemary and bay leaf).
  7. Add this to the onion mix and cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Add the Worcestershire sauce, red wine, and Dijon and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  9. Add the sauce, cream, and milk and bring to a simmer then remove from the heat.
  10. Whisk the eggs and yolks together, then slowly add two cups of the sauce to the eggs and whisk. Add this back to the pot and give it a good mix.
  11. Add the roughly chopped spinach, oregano, salt and pepper — mix well.
  12. Butter the 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
  13. Cut the parchment to fit in the bottom of the pan. 
  14. Ladle two cups of sauce into the bottom of the pan. 
  15. Dip the slices of bread in the sauce, covering each slice, then place in the pan. Repeat this until the bottom has been fully covered using half the bread. Now ladle over ½ of the sauce.
  16. Dip the remaining slices of bread in the sauce, covering each slice, then place in the pan. Repeat this until the second layer is finished and all the bread is used. Now ladle over the remaining sauce. 
  17. Allow the bread pudding to soak for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.  
  18. Butter the tin foil then make a double pleat down the middle of the foil. The double pleat allows the foil to expand as the bread pudding bakes. Cover the bread pudding and place the pan in the oven for 30 minutes.
  19. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the tin foil. Sprinkle with the parmesan then place back in the oven and bake for an additional 25 minutes. 
  20. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10-15 minutes.
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Contributed By: Chef Kieron Hales

Kieron Hales is Founding Partner and Executive Chef at Zingerman's Cornman farms.

 

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