Friday, November 12, 2010

chard and gruyere panade

I made this a while ago and have been meaning to write about it ever since. I'd never heard of a panade before and had no idea what one was. I read about it on Tea and Cookies which pointed me to Molly's recipe. Molly always writes so eloquently and made this sound intriguing, given the simple ingredients - onions, bread, oil, stock, chard and cheese. I had high hopes for this recipe given both glowing reviews.
We did like it but for me, it was just too rich. The two cups of cheese put it over the top for me and in the end I couldn't even manage the leftovers. In the end (because I hate to waste food) and D had eaten it leftover once, I stirred it into a savory bread pudding, so it became all the cheese and about 1/3 of the vegetables and bread in that dish. If I make it again, I will only use about half the cheese and possible 1/3 of the oil as I think both contributed to my issues with it. (It should be noted here that I have a problem with over rich food mainly as a result of having no gallbladder - it was removed years ago but I still have issues with some things).

If you would like to try it - and it does slurp deliciously here is how I made it:

2 onions, thinly sliced
About ½ cup olive oil
2 tsps minced garlic
1 lb Swiss chard, thick ribs removed, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
10 oz day-old chewy artisan bread, cut into rough 1-inch cubes
2 cups good-quality chicken broth
About 2 loosely packed cups good-quality Swiss gruyère

Place the onions in a large, saute pan, and add about ¼ cup olive oil. Cook until the onions have some colour, reduce the heat to low, and stir in the garlic and a few pinches of salt. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender or about 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place handfuls of chard in a large sauté pan, sprinkle with water and a few pinches of salt. Stir the leaves until they are just wilted, a few minutes. Set aside. Using your hands, toss the cubed bread with 2 Tbs olive oil, ¼ cup of the broth, and a few pinches of salt.

Using an ovenproof pan, assemble the panade in layers. Start with a good dollop of onions, followed by some bread cubes, a thin layer of onions, a layer of chard, and a handful of cheese. Repeat, continuing until all ingredients are incorporated and the dish is full. Aim for 2 layers or more of each ingredient.

Bring the remaining 1 ¾ cups broth and 2 cups water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Pour the warm liquid slowly, over the assembled panade, pouring it down the sides of the dish. The liquid should come up nearly to the top of the layers. Bring the panade to a simmer, with bubbles around the edges. Cover the top of the dish with parchment paper, and very loosely cover the top again with aluminum foil. Place the panade on a baking sheet to catch drips, slide it into the oven, and bake it until hot and bubbly, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. The top should be pale golden and a bit darker on the edges.

Uncover the panade, increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F, and leave for another 10-20 minutes, until brown. Let sit for a couple of minutes before serving.

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