Are you a lover of kale? Bread? Cheese? Mushrooms? Then you are likely to love this recipe from Jennie Perillo as much as I do. It’s basically a simplified strata of sorts, a casserole layering thin slices of rustic ciabatta bread with sautéed kale, mushrooms, and onions, and cheddar cheese, soaked with milk and egg, and then baked until bubbly and browned. It’s the ultimate kale lover’s comfort food. The recipe is from Jennie’s new cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie’s Kitchen, a beautiful book with photographs by Penny De Los Santos, heart warming prose, and tummy warming recipes for the home cook.
There are a dozen recipes in Jennie’s book that I can’t wait to make, but this one caught my eye first. It’s vegetarian and filling (so, perfect for Lent), and I have a hard time resisting anything with bread, mushrooms, cheddar, and kale. I think the next time I make it I may swap out some of the cremini mushrooms for shiitake, to make it even more intensely mushroomy. And while the recipe calls for kale, you could easily make this with chard or other good braising greens. It reminds me a bit of the panade we made here a while back, a bread soup with greens, mushrooms, and onions, just without the soup part. Enjoy!
Kale, Mushroom, and Cheddar Bake Recipe
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch (7 oz or 200 g) lacinato kale (dinosaur or Tuscan kale), center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 ounces (140 g) of cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 loaf (185 grams) ciabatta bread, cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) milk
- 4 ounces (112 g) grated cheddar cheese
1 Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with a little olive oil and set aside.
2 Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the thinly sliced kale and cook until just wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes.
3 Add the onions and mushrooms, and add salt and pepper to taste. Increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have released their moisture and the onions are translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
4 In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs.
5 Line the bottom of the casserole pan with one third of the thinly sliced bread. Spread one half of the kale mushroom onion mixture over the bread. Sprinkle one third of the cheddar cheese over the top. Lay down the second third of the bread slices. Top again with the remaining kale mixture, and then with a third of the cheese. Lay the remaining slices of bread over the top.
6 Pour the milk egg mixture over the bread, pressing down with a spatula so that the milk is absorbed by the casserole layers. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheddar cheese. (At this point you can chill overnight for making ahead, or continue.)
7 Let the casserole sit for about 15 minutes to further absorb the milk while you preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Cover with foil. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Let the casserole sit for a few minutes before serving.
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