A panade is certainly not the prettiest of dishes. In fact, it's just about as "rustic" as rustic cuisine can get. But a panade is something truly incredible. A panade is the perfect combination of crunchy edges, custard-soft spoonfuls, and chewy bits. It can take all your leftover vegetables, your stale bread, your pantry scraps, and transform them into something you will find yourself craving at odd hours of the night. Savory and so satisfying, you've got to make this.
What You Need
• 12 - 16 ounces leftover bread - any kind works, but sourdough is a favorite
• 2-4 cups of filling (after cooking) - This is where you can have some fun! Try any combination of onions, chard, mustard greens, celery, carrots, beans, sausage, chicken, nuts - feel free to throw in whatever sounds good. The 2-4 cups is roughly the amount you want after cooking the onions, wilting the chard, cooking the chicken, etc.
• 1 cup shredded cheese - feel free to mix any cheeses you have
• 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
• 2 quart baking dish
• aluminum foil
1. Slice and Toast the Bread Cubes - Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut the leftover bread into large chunks, roughly 1 inch. Toss them with a drizzle of olive oil and a healthy pinch of salt. Spread the cubes onto a cookie sheet and toast them for 30-40 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking, until they are completely dry.
2. Prepare the Filling - The filling should be entirely pre-cooked, so sauté your onions, cook the meat, and so on. Combine everything together in a bowl. Also, shred your cheese if you haven't already so that it's good to go!
3. Bring the Broth to a Simmer - Warm broth helps give the cooking a head start.
4. Build the Dish in Layers - Arrange about half of the bread cubes in the bottom of your casserole dish. They should fit very snugly. Next, layer on half of the filling and press it so that it goes into the gaps between the bread cubes. Finally, sprinkle half of the cheese over the filling. Add a second layer following the same pattern.
5. Pour in the Broth - Pour the warm broth over the top of the panade. It should fill the dish to within a half-inch of the top.
6. Cover and Bake - Cover the dish with aluminum foil, ballooning it slightly if the filling is mounded over the top but seal the edges closed. Place the dish in the oven (still heated to 350°). Bake for 45 minutes covered. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes, until the top is crusty and you can see the insides bubbling.
7. Let It Cool (Slightly) - This is the hardest part! Let the panade cool for at least 10 minutes so you don't burn your tongue when you're chowing down.
• For the panade pictured in the photos above, I used 1 large onion, 1/2 pound bok choy, 6 ounces sausage, 1 cup navy beans, and three cloves of minced garlic. For the cheese, I used a mix of Parmesan and gruyere.
• Since it takes a while to cook, this is a great dish to make on a Friday or lazy weekend day when it's ok that dinner is a little late.
• Panade makes fantastic leftovers - especially if you pan-fry a healthy scoop in some butter!
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(Images: Emma Christensen)