Croque Monsieur Casserole

This is from Melissa Clark’s new cookbook Dinner in French. I made a few minor changes including cutting the recipe in half. It is ridiculously rich and sinful.

4 tbsp butter

1/4 c flour

2.5 c milk

2.5 c grated Gruyere

1/2 tsp herbs de Provence

Salt

Pinch of nutmeg

8 slices white sandwich bread

6 oz thinly sliced ham

Heat oven to 375 and spray a 9×9 baking dish.

Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, whisking, until it turns golden, about 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk and whisk until smooth. Stir in herbs, salt and 1 cup of cheese . Whisk till smooth.

Slather bread with mustard, top with ham, shredded cheese and another slice of bread.

Spread a small amount of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Place sandwiches in and top with sauce and any remaining cheese.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until brown and bubbling.

Serves 6.

Pressure cooker French Onion Soup

So good and perfect for a cold winter night.

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp oliveoil
  • 3 mediums, halved and sliced thin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 2 tbsp sherry
  • 1 quart beef or veggie stock
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Pepper
  • French bread, sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1 c grated Gruyere

Using the sauté function, add the butter, oil and onions and cook until caramelized, about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle in the flour and stir well. Add the sherry, stock, thyme and salt. Cover and cook on high for 5 minutes.

Place bread on a baking sheet, rub with a garlic clove and top with cheese, broil for 1 – 2 min until melted and starting to turn golden.

Place bread in the bottom of 4 bowls, spoon soup over.

Serves 4.

Pasta with Spinach and Gruyere

Nothing beats pasta for quick weeknight meal!

  • 8 oz pasta
  • 1/2 c creme fraiche
  • 8 oz gruyere, grated
  • 16 oz baby spinach
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pine nuts

Cook pasta according to package.

In a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat, add creme fraiche and cook until heated through, stir in cheese – whisk until melted. Add pasta and baby spinach and cook until wilted then stir in garam masala. Season with salt and pepper. Top with pine nuts.

Serves 4.

Pomme de Terre Gratin

 Simple and elegant – Patricia Wells is da bomb.

Ingredients:
1 clove garlic
2 lb russet potatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 c gruyere, grated
1 c creme fraiche
1/2 c half and half
Salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Rub a gratin dish with garlic.

Layer 1/2 the potatoes, top with 1/2 the creme fraiche, salt and cheese. Top with remaining potatoes, cheese, creme fraiche and half and half.

Bake for 60 minutes until crisp and golden on top.

Serves 6.

Onion-Saffron Soup with Croutons and Cheese

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There is nothing better on a cold winter night than a nice hot bowl of soup topped with croutons and melted cheese. I was weary of placing my fiesta ware under the broiler so I broke out my kitchen torch to melt the cheese.

Ingredients:
4 c chicken stock
2 1/2 c hot water
2 1/2 lbs onions, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp salt
4 TBSP butter
5 TBSP flour
1/2 tsp crushed saffron threads
1/2 baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes and toasted
6 oz gruyere, grated

In a large stock pot, combine butter, onions, bay leaves and salt, cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until softened. Then cover and cook for 10 more minutes. Sprinkle flour over onions and stir to combine, cook for 1 minute. Add hot water, stir to combine, then add stock. Cook for 1 hour partially covered. Add saffron and cook another hour.

Pour soup into bowls, top with croutons and cheese, use a kitchen torch or broiler to melt the cheese.

Serves 4.

Tomato, Chard and Gruyere Panade

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This recipe was inspired by Food & Wine magazine. It is a classical Provençal casserole, the flavors are out of this world!!

Ingredients:
2 bunches of Swiss chard, stemmed
2 TBSP olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
4 thyme sprigs
1 c dry white wine
Salt
Pepper
1 1/2 – 2 c chicken stock
8 oz loaf of day-old peasant bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 lbs tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
9 oz Gruyère cheese, shredded
3 TBSP butter, melted

In a 12 inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat, add onions and thyme and cook over low heat, covered for 15 minutes until softened. Salt and pepper. Add chard and wine and simmer over medium high heat, until chard is wilted and wine is reduced to 1/4 c.

Preheat oven to 400.

Butter a 12 x 12 pan. Layer bread, tomatoes, chard onion mixture, cheese and repeat. Pour liquid from skillet over the dish and then chicken stock. Push down the mixture and dot with butter.

Cover with foil and bake one hour. Remove foil and broil for 5 minutes until the cheese is brown.

Let rest 10 minutes and serve.

Serves 4 – 6.

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Grilled Gruyere and Apple Sandwich

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On a cold rainy day grilled cheese and a nice ale make for the perfect pick me up. I added some thinly sliced apple for a nice sweetness.

Ingredients:
4 oz gruyere
1 apple thinly sliced
4 slices of buttermilk bread
Dijon mustard
Butter

Spread mustard on bread. Top with apple slices and cheese. Butter outside of the bread and cook for 6 minutes per side over medium heat.

Serves 2.