Emeril's Savory Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding:
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup sliced yellow onions
10 ounces assorted wild mushrooms, such as oyster, shitake, chanterelles, wood ear, or porcini
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup lager beer
5 large eggs
3 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
3/4 cup grated Gouda cheese
3/4 cup grated white cheddar cheese
3/4 pound stale white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon plain bread crumbs
Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown and tender, 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the Essence, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 3/4 teaspoon of the pepper, and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender and have given off their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the beer and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and until the mixture is almost dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cream, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of Essence, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and whisk well to combine. Add the mushroom mixture and cheeses and stir well. Add the bread cubes and let sit until the bread has absorbed the liquid, 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with the butter. Add the bread crumbs, shaking to cover the bottom evenly. Pour the bread pudding mixture into the prepared pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour and uncover. Continue baking until risen and firm in the center, and golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.
Yield: 6 servings