Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Panade of Leeks and Mixed Greens with Cantal Cheese

There is nothing better on a cold winter day than a panade. Think very rich stuffing without the turkey. The turkey is never as good as the stuffing anyway. I have never actually made this with Cantal cheese because I have only found Cantal in France. It is great with Comte, but Gruyere would be very good also. A good chewy bread is important. Feel free to vary the vegetables.
3 large leeks (white and light green parts only) chopped
1 red onion, chopped
5 green garlic shoots or 8 to 10 garlic cloves, sliced.
(leeks, onion, and garlic should equal 4 cups)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb loaf of stale chewy bread with crust
1 1/2 lb mixed leafy greens (such as sorrel, chard, kale, spinach, arugula, a braising mix would be good) deribbed and shredded (about 10 cups)
juice of 1/2 lemon
freshly ground pepper
grated nutmeg
3 cups whole milk, heated to simmering
1/2 lb Cantal, Comte, or Gruyere cheese.
you might want to add pine nuts or walnuts
Slowly stew the leeks, onion, and garlic in olive oil for 10 minutes. Add 1 tsp salt and cook for 5 more minutes. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Cut bread into 1" cubes. You should have about 2 qts.
Spread cubes in one layer on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 45 min. or until just golden.
Add greens to the pot with the leeks and cook over low heat for 45 min. Uncover and boil away excess liquid. Allow to cool. Add lemon juice, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Adjust salt. (Up to the point the recipe can be prepared 1 day in advance and refrigerated. Bring to room temp before continuing.)
About 2 1/2 hours before serving, oil a deep 3 qt casserole, perferably earthenware. Place 1/3 of the bread cubes in the dish, top with 1/2 the greens, and repeat, ending with the bread cubes and patting lightly to make an even topping. Gradually pour the hot milk down the insides and over the top of the panade so everything is moist. If necessary add 1/2 cup water. cover with the grated cheese and a sheet of foil.
Bake in 250 degree oven for 1 3/4 hours. Raise the oven temp to 400 degrees, uncover and bake 20 more min. Remove from oven and allow to relax for about 10 min before serving.
I have thought it would be good to bake the panade in a shallow pan so as to have more crust.

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