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Salt & Wind Travel

Croque Monsieur Savory Bread Pudding

Is there anything in the world better than a classic ham and cheese sandwich? Well, if there ever were a contender, it’d be this recipe for Savory Bread Pudding that is inspired by the French sandwich, the Croque Monsieur.

Savory Bread Pudding Recipe

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Year after year, this is one of the most popular and well rated recipes on the site. And, seeing we have more than 500 recipes, well, that’s saying something.

This savory bread pudding recipe is a twist on the delicious classic French sandwich known as a Croque monsieur, but it’s turned into casserole form with a mix of smoky ham, gooey cheese, crusty French bread, and all things delicious.

This savory bread pudding recipe is as at home at a weekend brunch as a Mother’s Day celebration or even an unexpected take on stuffing for Thanksgiving. Translation: this is pretty much perfect for lazy days and long, relaxing brunches.

Recipe Ingredients

These are the ingredients you’ll need to make this savory bread pudding recipe are:

  • Unsalted Butter: Start with high-quality butter to give this dish its French flair.
  • Yellow Onion And Garlic: Add in aromatics to give a great base of flavor.
  • Fresh Thyme: One of the most common herbs you’ll see in French cooking, this is used in the saute and as garnish.
  • Large Eggs And Half-And-Half: Whisk these together tot mimic the richness you’d get from the bechamel sauce in the classic sandwich. 
  • Dijon Mustard And Hot Sauce: While both ingredients are optional, they are keys to a flavorful dish in our eyes.
  • French Bread: Any type of soft bread (that is stale or toasted before using) will work including ciabatta, focaccia, or even brioche.
  • Gruyère Cheese: This Alpine cheese provides nuttiness and creaminess.
  • Canadian Bacon: If you can’t find Canadian bacon, Black Forest Ham will also work well. 
  • Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese: To provide some saltiness and complexity. 

How To Make This Recipe

These are the instructions to make this savory bread pudding recipe:

  • Coat The Baking Dish: Coat a 2-quart baking dish with butter and set aside.
  • Saute The Onions And Garlic: Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add butter. When it foams, add onion, season with salt, stir, and cook until just softened about 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until beginning to soften and fragrant.
  • Make The Bread Pudding Custard: Whisk eggs, half-and-half, mustard, hot sauce, and salt in a large bowl until evenly combined. 
  • Layer The Savory Bread Pudding: Arrange half of the bread at the bottom of the prepared dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the Gruyère and half each onion mix and ham.Repeat layering with remaining bread, onion mixture, ham, and Gruyère cheese. Pour egg mixture over the top then refrigerate for 3 to 12 hours.
  • Bake The Bread Pudding: Heat the oven, let the savory bread pudding sit for and then bake it until puffed and the edges pull away slightly. Cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Savory bread pudding, unlike its sweet counterpart, is a hearty dish made with stale bread soaked in a mixture of eggs and milk or cream, and typically includes cheese, vegetables, and sometimes meat.

The flavor profile leans towards umami and herbaceous notes, often incorporating ingredients like sautéed onions, mushrooms, spinach, and herbs like thyme or rosemary. It's served as a main dish or side, especially during brunch or as a comfort food meal.

Yes, savory bread pudding can be prepared in advance, making it convenient for meal planning. You can assemble the dish, cover it, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight before baking. This allows the bread to fully absorb the liquid mixture, resulting in a more flavorful and cohesive dish.

When ready to serve, bake it according to the recipe instructions, adding a few extra minutes if it's coming straight from the refrigerator.

Leftover savory bread pudding should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and is best consumed within 2-3 days. To reheat, cover with foil and warm in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until heated through, about 15-20 minutes. For individual portions, a microwave can be used, heating in 30-second intervals until warm. Avoid overcooking to prevent the pudding from drying out

What To Serve With Savory Bread Pudding

This savory bread pudding recipe has a lot going for it so you don’t want to overwhelm it. If it’s part of a brunch, serve it with some classic cocktails or recipes like: 

Travel To France

If you’re interested in planning a trip to France soon, let us lend a hand, and we can help you plan every step of the way. Visit our Travel Services page at travel.saltandwind.com.

In the meantime, go stock up on all your cooking essentials, then head into the kitchen, make this, and share it with us by tagging @saltandwind and #swsociety on social!

Savory Bread Pudding Recipe

Croque Monsieur Savory Bread Pudding Recipe

Is there anything better than a great ham and cheese sandwich? Well, if there ever was a contender, I'd say it'd be this recipe for Croque Monsieur Savory Bread Pudding. Or Strata. Or whatever the heck you want to call it. This recipe is basically a giant deconstructed Croque Monsieur (aka ham, cheese, French Bread, and all things delicious).
4.7 from 65 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 50 minutes
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 364 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter plus extra for coating pan
  • 1 yellow onion roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves plus one teaspoon for garnish
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce plus more for garnish
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
  • 1 pound loaf French bread stale or toasted, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese (about 4.5 ounces)
  • 1 pound Canadian Bacon cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)

Instructions
 

  • Sauté The Onions: Coat a 2-quart (about 11-by-7-inch) baking dish with butter and set aside. Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add butter. When it foams, add onion, season with salt, stir, and cook until just softened about 3 to 4 minutes.
    Add garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until beginning to soften and fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in thyme. 
    TIP: Onions can be cooked up to two days ahead. Store refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.
  • Make The Bread Pudding Custard: Whisk eggs, half-and-half, mustard, hot sauce, and salt in a large bowl until evenly combined. Arrange half of the bread at the bottom of the prepared dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the Gruyère and half each onion mix and ham.
    Repeat layering with remaining bread, onion mixture, ham, and Gruyère cheese. Pour egg mixture over the top.
  • Push to ensure bread is submerged in egg custard, cover with plastic wrap, put a plate and a 1-pound weight on top (a large can of tomatoes or rice in a re-sealable plastic bag works well) place in refrigerator for 3 to 12 hours.
    TIP: Make bread pudding through this step up to the night before your dinner and then cook it in the morning.
  • Bake The Bread Pudding: When ready to bake, heat the oven to 325°F and arrange the rack in the middle. Let strata sit at room temperature while the oven heats, for at least 20 minutes.
    Bake for 20 minutes, then increase the temperature to 375°F. Sprinkle parmesan over the strata and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until puffed and the edges pull away slightly. Remove from oven and sprinkle over remaining thyme.
    Cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve with hot sauce on the side.
    TIP: Bread pudding can be baked up to three days ahead of time then stored covered in the refrigerator. Rewarm it in a low oven (about 200°F) until warmed through, about 30 minutes.

PERSONAL NOTES

Nutrition

Calories: 364kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 25gFat: 18.5gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 171mgSodium: 872mgPotassium: 265mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 464IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 296mgIron: 3mg
Keyword deconstructed croque monsier, french sandwich
Tried this recipe?Mention @saltandwind or tag #swsociety!

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About The Author

4 thoughts on “Croque Monsieur Savory Bread Pudding”

  1. 5 stars
    I made this “casserole” for diner and paired it with greens that where forage here in Italy. It was delicious! I would make it on Saturday to have this ready for Sunday morning before our big walk. Thank you so much/Grazie

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