This is very basic, and hardly deserves to be called a recipe, but so very tasty and filling and the ultimate comfort food. Rather peasanty and a very good use for stale bread. It can easily be either vegetarian or meaty. This particular version is vegetarian, but the addition of either sausage or bacon (or bits of chicken, or you name it) could work very well. It is a cheesy, eggy, bready mess. Add any veg you want and just give it all enough time to soak, then bake it until the top is crispy and the inside is moist and messy.
1 loaf of bread, cubed (you can use any bread you want, but personally I like character in my bread, with seeds and dark flour and things)
1 leek, chopped
1 onion, sliced
2-3 tbsp butter
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 - 2 c milk
1 tbsp chives
A handful of mushrooms, chopped
50-100 g Gruyère, cubed
2 - 3 tbsp parmesan (or other aged cheese), grated
Pepper to taste
1) On the stove, melt the butter in an oven proof dish. Sauté the leek and onion. When they soften, add the mushrooms and then the bread, allowing some of the cubes to brown a little.
2) Beat the eggs and milk together and pour them over the bread and veg. Mix in the chives and the cheese. Leave it all to soak for at least an hour.
3) Sprinkle parmesan and freshly ground pepper over the top. Bake at 180° for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top.
This also works well with slices of bread, laid out like a savoury bread pudding. I haven't had it in a while and it was so satisfying on a cold evening. No fancy flavours, no fancy ingredients but honest and tasty.