22 February 2008

all the goodness in one pot.

As you may have already read, last Sunday was a big day of cooking in my house. It was also a day filled with cleaning and organizing and fixing up things in the house. After all the craziness, I was ready for some cooking. There was the whole banana bread fiasco, but I luckily was able to redeem myself after that with this amazing recipe for Panade adapted from Orangette. Who knew that day old bread could taste so good? Even better than my amazing croutons! (I'll write about those sometime soon, promise.) After a long cold day in Minneapolis, all you really want is something warm to cozy in with. To dip your spoon into something gooey and have cheese string up to you mouth from the bowl. And, I tell you what, this recipe fits the bill. It is almost like French Onion soup, but not. Although the big pan or caramelized onions does seem reminiscent of the soup.

It did seem to take a lot of work to make this seemingly simple pot o' stuff, but, in the end, it was totally worth washing the extra pans. I ended up using kale even though the recipe called for swiss chard. It seemed that the city was fresh out of swiss chard, so i had to substitute. But it worked just fine. I think I might not have used enough, but in the end it was all okay. I am always deceived by how that big chunk of green sautés down to something so small.

After all the sautéing and caramelizing and cubing of bread, everything really does end up in one bowl. Or, in my case, the small Le Crueset pot that we got for free through our wedding registry (I love free stuff!). I will admit that I was a bit weirded out filling it all up to the top with broth, but the bread soaks all the soupy-ness in and becomes sticky and wonderful with a lovely, browned and crispy top.

After the torturous period of waiting for things to settle in the pot, sticking a huge spoon in to lift out an amazing smelling mass of the oozey bread and onion goodness is an amazing thing. This one pot includes all the things my husband loves: bread, cheese and caramelized onions, plus I got him to eat some greens, which is a huge feat! He did comment that the only thing missing was meat, but that it tasted good enough that it didn't really need it.

We started out with forks and spoons because we thought we'd need both to get all the broth-y goodness, but as time went on the bread just kept soaking and spoons weren't needed at all. It was a glorious dinner filled with slurping of cheese and warm tummies. And a bit of leftover Valentine's Day champagne for me. This is also a meal that really keeps on giving because I ate it for lunch the next day and dinner two days later. The flavor deepens and, although the crusty top is not quite as crusty, the texture is just as wonderful as it is the first time. It is a great lunchtime treat, that all your co-workers will be jealous of.

View the full recipe here:

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