The feeling that part of you slept through the end of the year..
And though good things happened
Those things are still too new to really grasp…
So you take what you got, or what you’ve made from what you got…
And layer it into the Pyrex dish you received for Christmas :)
You make comfort food. You make something special out of things so ordinary,
or things that are “just there”… for whatever reason.
Rainbow Chard, Onion, and Lentil Panade
Panade is essentially a bread casserole. It’s very versatile. All you need is some stale or dried bread cubes, a filling of your choice, and soup stock. Here’s my delicious version.
a couple cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 lb rainbow chard, sliced into ribbons, and the stems diced
a tsp each of fennel and caraway seeds (you can use whatever herbs or spices you like, but I find this combination interesting and delicious)
about half a pound of stale or dried bread cubes (I used challah but brioche, sourdough, baguette, whole wheat, etc., should do just as well)
about 1 cup cooked lentils (any type– French, red, black, green, etc.)*
2 cups nice vegetable broth
1) Make your filling. Over medium heat in some olive oil or butter, cook your garlic and onions until they start to soften. Add the chard, and stir around until it’s wilted. Add the fennel and caraway seeds, salt, pepper, and adjust flavors to your taste.
2) (If your bread cubes are not dry, you can pop them in the oven on the lowest temperature for a while. You want them to be able to soak up the broth.) When you have your fillings and bread ready, preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush a medium sized baking dish (about 8×8 inches or the equivalent) with olive oil. Spread half of the bread cubes on the bottom. Drizzle them with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fill the gaps with half the fillings. Repeat with the remaining bread and filling. I had some finely ground pecans and sprinkled some of those on top, but that’s not necessary. Top off the casserole with an extra drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and anything else you feel like.
3) Pour the broth evenly over the panade. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the top bread cubes are dry and crusty, and there’s some bubbling action on the bottom. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
*Cheese is often used in panade. I had some cooked red lentils on hand and thought it a good idea to throw in something healthier than cheese, so there. But by all means, whatever floats yer boat…
All you need now is a fork. Plates are stupid.