Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Yours for the Baking

Sformato di Patate, Bietole, Feta, Pancetta e Olive al Forno
Mashed-Potato, Swiss Chard, Feta Cheese, Bacon and Olive Bake

Yet again, working late at the office and walking home in the cold... what more do you need to put you in the mood for some simple "comfort food"? Not much- I can tell you! And I didn't need much to put together this simple and frankly delicious Autumn dish.

I had a few stalks of red chard left over in the fridge and some mashed potato from the other night. So it was the chard that was on my mind- how to make use of it? My favorite flavoring for chard is sun-dried tomato and garlic with a few black olives... very Sicilian! That in itself would have made a great meal together with an egg or two. But already i was thinking away... and being as I had red chard, I didn't want to use the tomatoes... so I cam up with this idea here instead... and I hope you like it!

The first thing I did was to pre-cook the chard for 10 minutes I popped a clove of garlic into the water along with it- I will tell you why in a short while. Whilst that was happening, I cracked a couple of eggs into the leftover mashed potato and added nutmeg, salt and pepper and a good splash of milk. I mixed this all up until I had a thick, smooth, pourable mixture.

After 10 minutes, I poured off the water from the chard and immediately ran cold water over it to cool it off. I fished out the garlic, which was soft by now, crushed it with a fork and whisked it into the mashed-potato/egg mixture. It is much milder tasting that way and just right for this dish! And with that taken care of- I was almost ready to go!

I crumbled up some Feta cheese, ready to go, and chopped a little bacon finely to sprinkle on top- and I began to put this all together. First of all I poured in a little of the mix at the base of my baking dish, and then spread out the chard, evenly on top of it. Then came another layer of egg/potato mix, a little more nutmeg, a sprinkle of bacon bits, and then the next layer of egg/potato. Once I got to the top layer and had used up all of the egg/potato mix, I sprinkled chopped bacon and crumbled Feta cheese  over it and added a last sprinkle of Nutmeg, some chili/pepper mix and a handful of black olives. The olives are SO important in this dish- they taste wonderful with chard- as does nutmeg... so don't forget!
But DO enjoy!

20 minutes at a moderate heat, in a pre-heated oven should do it- by that time you should not see any liquid egg bubbling up anywhere any more. I gave mine a short blast under the broiler and then turned off the heat and let the egg set properly. This and a little hunk of bread to go with it, a glass of red- and the evening was saved! I didn't call this comfort food for nothing!

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