Butternut Squash Bread Soup (Panade de Butternut)

This dish could have fed an army. It was GIGANTIC.  I would describe it as French onion soup meets oozy casserole. Full-flavored, cheese-covered comfort food. The thinly sliced butternut squash and fresh herbs layered into the bread, caramelized onions, and cheese added a little bit of excitement as well as color and nutrition. 😉

This recipe was adapted from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. Lebovitz stated that this is one of those dishes that improves as it sits… thank goodness! We had lots of leftovers. 🙂 I added additional homemade stock to the leftovers, before reheating, just to make it a little bit soupier.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 4 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled (4 thinly sliced & 4 whole)
  • 2 T mixed fresh thyme and sage
  • 2-pound (900 g) loaf firm-textured sourdough bread, sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 quarts (2 l) warm chicken or turkey stock, plus additional stock for serving, as desired
  • 2-pound butternut squash or other winter squash such as Kabocha, peeled, seeded and sliced into 1/8-inch slices
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups grated Comte, Gruyere, Jarlsberg, or Fontina cheese
  • 1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz /45 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)

  1. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. (I used an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
  2. Add the onions, 4 cloves of sliced garlic, and 1 teaspoon of the herbs. Cook for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are completely wilted and beginning to brown on the bottom and edges.
  3. While the onions are cooking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. Put the slices of bread on baking sheets in a single layer and toast in the oven, turning the slices over midway, until both sides are dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  5. When cool enough to handle, rub both sides of the bread with the whole garlic cloves.
  6. Slice the peeled and seeded squash into 1/8-inch slices. (I used a mandoline.)
  7. When the onions are done, pour in the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen up any of the flavorful brown bits. Cook for a minute or two, until the wine is absorbed.
  8. Add 2 cups of the stock to the onions and cook until the stock is mostly absorbed 10 to 15 minutes, and then add the rest of the stock and heat until the stock is hot. Remove from heat.
  9. To assemble the Panade, cover the bottom of a 3 to 4 quart (3-4 l), 3+inch (8 cm) deep, baking dish with a layer of bread, breaking any pieces so they fit in a single layer, but keeping them as large as possible.
  10. Ladle about half of the onions and some of the stock over the bread, and then cover with half of the squash slices. Season lightly with salt, pepper, and half of the remaining herbs.
  11. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup (40 g) of the Comte.
  12. Add a second layer of bread and ladle the rest of the onions and more stock over the bread. Cover with remaining squash slices. Season the squash with salt, pepper, and the remaining herbs.
  13. Sprinkle another 1/2 cup (40 g) of Comte over the squash layer.
  14. Cover the squash with a final layer of bread and then ladle the rest of the stock over the bread.
  15. Press down on the ingredients to encourage them to meld together.
  16. Top with remaining 1 cup (90 g) Comte, and the Parmesan.
  17. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and tighten it around the edges. Don’t press it down on the surface or some cheese may stick to the foil during baking.
  18. Set the baking dish on a parchment paper or foil-lined rimmed baking sheet to catch any spills.
  19. Bake for 45 minutes, uncover the Panade, and bake for another 30 minutes, or until it is very well browned and crisp on top.
  20. Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving. Spoon portions into shallow soup bowls, making sure each serving is topped with crusty topping.

I’m bringing my dinner-party ready comfort food to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #164 this week, hosted by Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook. Enjoy!

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Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

This was casserole was truly a one-dish meal. It is so loaded with vegetables, I didn’t feet the need to serve it with a salad or other green on the side. 🙂 We enjoyed it as our celebratory St. Patrick’s Day dinner this year. The “meaty” combination of lentils and mushrooms in this dish made my meat-loving family members happy. Don’t worry… they had corned beef sandwiches for lunch too.

My riced-potato topped casserole was filled with lentils, mushrooms, fresh herbs, as well as roasted cauliflower, butternut squash, and carrots. The sauce was flavored with dried porcini mushrooms, wine, onions, and loads of garlic. It was fabulously saucy with layers of rich flavor.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit. Next time, I would prepare the components of the dish a day in advance, as much as possible. The potato topping would ideally be prepared in advance at the very least. This delicious dish was absolutely worth the work and the wait! Great.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

For the Topping:

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled
  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
  • about 3/4 to 1 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
  • coarse salt

For the Filling:

  • ¾ cup brown or French green lentils
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 17 garlic cloves, divided
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped (about 3-4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock (I incorporated 4 cups homemade Turkey Stock)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce or 2 tablespoons white miso
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 cups ½-inch pieces peeled fall/winter vegetables (such as squash, turnips, carrots, and parsnips) (I used 1 medium butternut squash, 1 head of cauliflower, & 2 carrots)
  • 1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed, halved
  • 2 4-inch sprigs rosemary
  • 10 oz (about 2 cups) bite-size pieces mixed fresh mushrooms (I used sliced cremini & white button mushrooms)
  • ¼ cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme, chives, and sage)

To Make the Topping:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°, preferably on convection.
  2. Bake potatoes on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet until tender, about 40 minutes for the gold potatoes and 1 hour for the russet potatoes.
  3. Let cool slightly, then peel.
  4. Press potatoes through a ricer, food mill, or colander into a large bowl.
  5. Add butter; stir until well blended.
  6. Stir in milk until desired consistency is achieved.
  7. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.

DO AHEAD: Potatoes can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool, press plastic wrap directly onto potatoes, and chill.

To Prepare the Lentils:

  1. Combine lentils, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp salt, and 4 cups water in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender but not mushy, 15–25 minutes.
  3. Drain lentils and discard garlic. Set aside.

To Make the Sauce:

  1. Soak dried porcini in 3 cups hot water; set aside.
  2. Heat 3 T olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. (I used an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
  3. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add 10 cloves of chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Stir in tomato paste. Cook, stirring constantly, until tomato paste is caramelized, 2–3 minutes.
  6. Add bay leaves and wine; stir, scraping up any browned bits.
  7. Stir in porcini, slowly pouring porcini soaking liquid into pan but leaving any sediment behind.
  8. Bring to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
  9. Stir in broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  10. Strain mixture into a large bowl with a spout. Discard the solids.
  11. Wipe Dutch oven clean and returned strained sauce to pot; bring to a boil. (I had 5 cups of strained sauce.)
  12. Stir cornstarch and 3 T water in a small bowl to dissolve.
  13. Add cornstarch mixture to hot sauce; simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  14. Whisk in soy sauce/miso.
  15. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To Make the Vegetable Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Toss vegetables and pearl onions with remaining 2 T oil, 6 garlic cloves, and rosemary sprigs in a large bowl or on 2 parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheets; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide evenly between the 2 rimmed baking sheets. Roast, stirring once, until tender, 20–25 minutes.
  4. Transfer garlic cloves to a small bowl; mash well with a fork and stir into sauce.
  5. Discard rosemary.

DO AHEAD: Lentils, sauce, and vegetables can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill.

To Finish the Dish:

  1. Arrange lentils in an even layer in a 3-qt. baking dish; set dish on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Toss roasted vegetables with fresh mushrooms and chopped herbs; layer on top of lentils.
  3. Pour sauce over vegetables.
  4. Spoon potato mixture evenly over. Swirl decoratively.
  5. Bake at 425°, preferably on convection, until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking process.
  6. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

I’m sharing my St. Patrick’s Day feast at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #163 this week. Enjoy!!

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Baked Rice with Chicken & Mushrooms

I’m home with my kids for their second consecutive snow day today! 🙂 It seems like the perfect time to share one of my new favorite comfort food dishes- baked rice. It’s a full-flavored, complete meal in one pot. Delicious.

This version was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. This dish was different that others that I’ve made in the past because after the rice is baked, it is garnished with a sautéed vegetable topping. Loved it. I used cremini instead of trumpet mushrooms, and increased the amount of mushrooms, garlic, and peas. We ate it with roasted broccoli on the side. It would also be wonderful with a green salad.

I’m bringing this dish to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #158 this week, co-hosted by Ai @Ai Made it For You and Petra @Food Eat Love. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 8

  • 2 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs (about 10), cut into 2-inch chunks
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large sprig thyme, plus 1 teaspoon freshly chopped leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups white Basmati rice, soaked for 20 minutes, rinsed and drained
  • 20 ounces king trumpet mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, or a mixture of mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 4 cups hot chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or smashed to a paste with a little salt
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
  1. Put chicken pieces in a 9×13-inch pyrex baking dish and season generously with salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Pour olive oil into a 4-quart enamelware Dutch oven or similar heavy pot and set over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onions and cook, stirring, until nicely browned, 5 to 8 minutes, then season with salt.
  4. Add chicken, thyme sprig and bay leaf, and continue to cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more.
  5. Add wine and simmer briskly until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add rice and a large handful of mushrooms and stir to combine. (Reserve most of the mushrooms for garnish.)
  7. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Check broth for seasoning and adjust.
  8. Cover pot and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.
  9. Transfer pot to oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Finally, remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes off heat.
  11. While rice is baking, sauté remaining mushrooms: Melt butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook, rapidly stirring, until they have softened and browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
  12. Add peas, if using, and heat through.
  13. Turn off heat, then add reserved chopped thyme, the garlic and the parsley. Toss to coat well.
  14. Fluff rice, then top with sautéed mushrooms and serve.

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Cauliflower Gratin

My husband refused to let me simply roast the special heads of cauliflower we received in our CSA share. When he agreed to eat this indulgent cheesy cauliflower celebration as a main dish, we struck a deal. I added a little bit of pasta to make it more substantial.

We enjoyed this dish with roasted potatoes, roasted carrots, as well as Toscano kale and watermelon radish greens sautéed with garlic, onions and leeks on the side. It truly was a CSA box feast. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home by Ina Garten. I used one and a half heads of my small CSA cauliflower, about two pounds total. The original recipe called for three pounds, so I added pasta to the gratin. I also drizzled olive oil over the top of the dish instead of butter.

Cheesy deliciousness. 🙂

  • 1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets (I used 2 pounds of cauliflower supplemented with 1 cup orecchiette pasta)
  • coarse salt
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyère, divided
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (I used Parmigiano Reggiano)
  • 1/4 cup panko or fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 to 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, preferably on convection.
  2. Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.
  3. Cook the pasta, if using, about 2 minutes less than the package directions for al dente.
  4. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.
  5. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened.
  6. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyère, and the Parmesan.
  7. Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish or another equivalently sized baking dish.
  8. Place the drained cauliflower on top (and the pasta, if using) and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top.
  9. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyère and sprinkle on top.
  10. Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over the gratin.
  11. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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Cheesy Corn Casserole

Simple and rich. This side dish is so quick to throw together it’s absolutely perfect for after Thanksgiving or another holiday meal when less side dishes and more turkey (or main protein) is leftover. I suppose it would also be a terrific side for the big day! We enjoyed it with our leftover turkey this year. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Sarah McLellan. She described this dish as “an easy, unadulterated combo of creamy, salty, and cheesy.” Spot on.

  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cans of whole kernel corn (not creamed corn)
  • 8 oz block of cream cheese
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese, to taste
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko or other breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs such as thyme, sage, and/or parsley, more to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Combine the jalapeño and garlic in a medium saucepan. Sauté until fragrant and just starting to soften.
  3. Add the corn, cream cheese, butter, 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese; stir through until melted.
  4. Season with salt and black pepper, as desired. Add more cheddar cheese, if desired, to taste.
  5. Pour it into a baking dish, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs, the remaining Parmesan, and the chopped herbs.
  6. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 15 minutes. Serve right away.

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Fancy Chicken Tetrazzini

This was unlike any tetrazzini I’ve ever eaten. It was fancy! (for a rotisserie chicken casserole, anyway 😉 ) It’s probably not technically “tetrazzini,” but it was a smoky, full-flavored, and delicious comfort food dish. An upgrade.

The New York Times explained that this dish takes its name from the Italian opera star Luisa Tetrazzini. It was once commonly found on menus in upscale restaurants during the early 20th century. (Who knew?) It has since become less fancy (until now!) and less Italian. 🙂 I loved the title of their article, “Chicken Tetrazzini, The Casserole Even Snobs Love.” I love all sorts of casseroles, so I suppose this fact confirms that I’m not a snob. 🙂

This recipe is from The New York Times, adapted from Mississippi chef Brad McDonald, contributed by Sam Sifton. I adapted the recipe further by increasing the garlic and by using mixed dried wild mushrooms as well as whole wheat pasta.

I’m bringing my fancy and snobby casserole to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #144, co-hosted by Suzanne @A Pug in the Kitchen and Margy @La Petite Casserole. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (I used a mixed wild dried mushroom medley including porcini, shiitake, black, & oyster mushrooms)
  • 4 medium-size poblano peppers
  • 5 dried guajillo chiles, ends snipped and seeds discarded
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade or low-sodium
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium-size shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated (I used 3-year aged white Cheddar)
  • 1 pound spaghetti, preferably whole wheat
  • 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken, the meat removed and shredded, approximately 1 pound
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped, for garnish, optional
  1. Turn broiler to high, and set a large pot filled with salted water over high heat to come to a boil.
  2. As oven heats, place the mushrooms in a small bowl, and pour boiling water over them, then leave them to soak for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, then strain and set aside.
  3. Place the poblanos on a small sheet pan, and set on the highest rack under the broiler so that the skin blackens, turning a few times so that the roasting is even, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. When the skin is blackened and blistered all over, place the peppers in a medium bowl, cover it with a plate and allow to rest.
  4. Make the sauce. Put the dried chiles in a medium pot set over medium-high heat, and allow them to cook until they become fragrant, approximately 5 to 7 minutes, then turn heat to low, and add the chicken stock, milk, garlic and shallots.
  5. Allow the mixture to cook at just below a simmer for approximately 10 minutes, or until the chiles have softened.
  6. Remove from heat, and pour into a blender or Vitamix, then add 6 ounces of the grated Cheddar, and process to a smooth consistency. Set aside.
  7. Meanwhile, remove the skin and seeds from the roasted poblanos, and cut them into thin strips. Set aside.
  8. Heat oven to 400, preferably on convection.
  9. Cook the spaghetti in the boiling salted water in the large pot until just al dente, approximately 9 to 10 minutes. Drain, and rinse under cold water until cool, then drain again. (This step prevents the pasta from over cooking in the oven.)
  10. Return the spaghetti to the cooking pot, and toss it with the roasted pepper strips, the mushrooms, the shredded chicken meat and the lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper.
  11. Transfer to a casserole dish, approximately 9 inches by 13 inches, and pour the reserved cheese sauce over it.
  12. Cover with the remaining shredded cheese, place in oven and bake until the cheese has melted and started to turn golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.
  13. Garnish with chopped parsley, if you like, and serve.

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Stuffed Poblano Casserole

I used to love receiving my monthly issue of Everyday Food. Page after page of tasty and quick dishes. So sad it no longer exists. 😦 Thankfully, I have my old issues! (of course 😉 )

This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. I increased the garlic and onions, decreased the water, and added corn. We ate it with green salad and brown Basmati rice. Mildly spicy and light… well, for a casserole!

Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole San Marzano tomatoes in puree
  • 1 jalapeno chile (ribs and seeds removed, for less heat), minced
  • 1 1/2  to 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves (3 whole, 2 minced)
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 can (19 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup shredded jalapeño Jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 large poblano chiles, halved lengthwise (stems left intact), ribs and seeds removed
  1. Preheat oven to 425, preferably on convection.
  2. In a blender or Vitamix, combine tomatoes in puree, jalapeño, half the onions, and 2 whole garlic cloves; puree. Season with salt.
  3. Pour sauce into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine beans, corn, cornmeal, 1/2 cup cheese, remaining onions, minced garlic (I used a garlic press), cumin, and 1/4 cup water; season with salt and pepper.
  5. Dividing evenly, stuff poblano halves with bean mixture; place on top of sauce in baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle poblanos with remaining 1/2 cup cheese; cover baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.
  7. Bake until poblanos are tender, about 45 minutes.
  8. Uncover, and continue to cook until sauce is thickened slightly and cheese is browned, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool 10 minutes.

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