Bread, cheese, bacon & leeks all baked together in the ultimate picnic loaf! This recipe idea derives from a Portuguese traditional stuffed bread made in the North of Portugal called ‘Bola’. This was made by the farmers wives for their husbands to take to work when they were out working the fields. It consists of bread dough enriched with ‘lard’ or butter and then put in layers in a baking tray, filled in the middle with meat leftovers like roast pork, veal, chicken or chourico (smoked pork sausage).
This kind of reminds me of Pan Bagnat, the traditional Nice ‘sandwich’, in which the top of a round loaf would be sliced off and some of the crumbs hollowed out, mixed with tuna, olives, anchovies, etc. then spooned back in and the ‘lid’ put on top. Later variations are often made with ham and cheese and sometimes peppers are added.
In September 2017, I posted a blog on Pan Bagnat. Once the flavors all meld together the taste was incredible. I thought this stuffed bread would be perfect for an outdoor summer meal or picnic.
Baked Stuffed Picnic Loaf
Very lightly grease a skillet with olive oil, put in the bacon & sauté until browned. Add the chopped shallot; sauté until softened, then add the leek. Stir together and remove from the heat – you want the leeks to keep their color so don't overcook.
In a bowl, whisk sour cream, eggs, mustard & spices together. Don’t overmix: keep the mixture a little lumpy.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Slice into the bread, but not all the way through. You need to cut deep enough into the bread to open out the loaf and fill between the “slices, while leaving the loaf connected at the base. Place the bread on a sheet of parchment paper.
Into each slot in the bread, place a slice of potato, followed by some of the bacon, shallot and leeks.
Use the paper to lift the bread onto a baking tray. Spoon some of the sour cream/egg mixture into each slot, so that the bread absorbs as much as possible.
Finally insert the slices of cheese. Enclose the loaf fully in the baking paper and then wrap it in foil to make a tight parcel.
Put the wrapped bread into the preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, then remove the tray and open the foil and parchment paper. Return to the oven until the top of the bread and its filling is golden brown. Remove and serve!