Like a cross between a dressing and a savory bread pudding, this rich mix of slightly sweet cornbread, earthy dried mushrooms, and creamy, sharp blue cheese had Sunset's staff clamoring for seconds. Prep and Cook Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes. Notes: To make ahead, prepare the stuffing through step 4 on the day before serving. Cover the bread cubes and cornbread and store at room temperature; cover and chill the leek-porcini mixture, then bring to room temperature before resuming with step 5.
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 1/4 cups milk
8 large eggs
4 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
2 leeks, halved lengthwise, rinsed well, white and light green parts thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
4 fresh sage leaves, minced
12 ounces baguette or similar French bread, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
10 ounce gorgonzola dolce cheese
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter two 9- by 13-in. baking dishes. Set aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt 1/3 cup butter. Set aside and cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir in 1 1/4 cups milk, 2 eggs, and melted butter. Pour batter into a buttered baking dish and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool and then cut cornbread into bite-size pieces.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, soak porcini in 1 3/4 cups hot water for 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer porcini to a cutting board and roughly chop. Reserve porcini and soaking liquid.
Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add leeks, garlic, shallots, porcini, sage, and remaining 1 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring, until leeks and shallots are soft, about 5 minutes. Carefully pour in porcini liquid, leaving behind any grit at the bottom of the bowl.
In a very large bowl, whisk together remaining 4 cups milk and 6 eggs. Stir in leek mixture. Add baguette cubes and stir. Add cornbread cubes and fold gently to mix. Transfer to second buttered baking dish and break gorgonzola into small pieces while scattering over the top. Bake until set, about 40 minutes. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving.