Old Archades Bread Pudding

Jules in Old Archades“The runoff from Archades proper pools here: those who lack papers to live in the city itself. The mighty who have fallen, and the fallen who would be mighty. Their eyes never leave Archades.”

—Balthier, FFXII

Make use of stale bread and past-their-prime tomatoes with this thrifty recipe.

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion or 2 small onions, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 2 lbs. fresh tomatoes (not rogue!), skin on, washed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb. Italian or French bread, roughly sliced
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 10 minutes, covered. Stir frequently and reduce heat if the onions are browning too quickly. Add garlic and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Stir in salt, reduce to a simmer, and let cook until the tomatoes begin to soften and break down, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the bread slices in a bowl and cover with chicken or vegetable stock. (Water or wine are also options, if preferred.) Tear the bread into chunks and add to the tomato mixture. Add the remaining liquid from the bowl. Continue simmering until the bread is absorbed into the texture of the pudding, about 1 hour, stirring and reducing heat as necessary to prevent sticking.

Remove from heat and stir in the basil and pepper. Spoon into bowls and serve, garnished with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, if desired.

Makes 8 servings.  Per serving: 274 calories, 8.1 g. fat, 1 g. saturated fat, 0.9 g. poly. fat, 5 g. mono. fat, 1250.4 mg. sodium (this will be less if you use homemade chicken stock instead of storebought), 372 mg. potassium, 42.8 g. carbohydrates, 2.4 g. fiber, 7.9 g. protein, vitamin A 10%, vitamin C 26%, calcium 6%, iron 17%