This past weekend, it seems before anyone even had time to psychologically prepare for it, summer boldly shifted head-first into fall mode. Fall is actually my favorite time of year, the season when it's ok to linger in bed a bit longer in the morning, the time to bring out the woolies & knitting, go for long walks in the park, and most importantly get back into baking and cooking warm comfort foods. But yesterday for some reason, I wasn't feeling ready to say goodbye to summer. I felt sad and chilly and I needed something warm and mushy in my belly to chase away the blues & chill. I've been toying with the idea of making swiss chard bread pudding for a while. I've never even made the sweet version but have always had a weird nostalgia about it, even though I didn't grow up with it as a kid. I didn't even taste until I was well into my twenties, which is odd for having grown up in Nova Scotia. Last year, my roommate made a savoury version which was a revelation, all the bells went off in my head, and I devoured that thing like there was no tomorrow and have been thinking about it ever since. I imagined this swiss chard version as a slightly boozy, and very cheesy variation and the result was a hearty dish that did a fine job of comforting my seasonal blues. I highly recommend it for a cool September night. (It's also a great way to use up stale bread and sneak in a generous portion of greens for kids who don't like them... in which case maybe ignore the splash of hard liquor part of the recipe eh?
Swiss Chard Bread Pudding from Kitchen Vignettes on Vimeo.
SWISS CHARD BREAD PUDDING
About 5 cups of bread pieces (either cubed or torn by hand, stale bread is best)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 bunches of chard, lightly steamed and chopped
3/4 cup white wine (I also snuck in a few splashes of dry martini mix, heh heh, a splash of vodka would do the trick too)
1 1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup grated swiss cheese
1 cup grated gruyere
bunch of sage & a large clove or two of garlic
Sautee the onion and olive oil until onion is soft and lightly browned. Add chopped swiss chard to the onions (steam it and chop it first) and cook a wee bit longer. At the last minute, add the wine (and if desired, a few splashes of vodka or martini mix... go on, do it, you know you want to). Let the mixture cool.
Whip cream, milk, & eggs together. Add chopped sage & garlic, cheeses, bread pieces, and swiss chard mixture. Mix everything well and pour into buttered pan. Bake at 350 C for about an hour or until set and sizzling & golden on top. Serve warm and let your worries melt away.