The alternative title to this post is: My Take on Molly Baz’s “Cheesy Stuffing Gratin with Many Different Brassicas.”
This dish is incredible. Full stop.
I first had this a few weeks ago when a friend of ours made it for our “Friendsgiving.” I got seconds. And, I don’t usually get seconds.
It defied all I had ever known about Thanksgiving stuffing, which makes it a terrific dish for any time of year: besides being loaded with one of my favorite families of veg (never mind that it’s the only word that rhymes with my name)—brassicas—it’s also covered in a creamy, dilly, oniony sauciness with homemade bread strewn throughout . . . oh, it was—and is—delicious.
Thinking that I could make this delightful side dish into a main, I asked my friend for the recipe. My heart sank a little when I saw how much heavy cream—and cheese—it called for. “Oh. That’s why,” I thought. Unwilling to assume defeat, or to go back to consuming quite that much dairy on a regular basis, I put a few spins on the recipe.
Here’s my take on Molly Baz’s delicious creation. It’s a supper-worthy version that can grace your table weekly. As such, all the heavy cream is replaced by cashew cream, and I’ve substantially stepped back the cheese—but seriously, hear me say: there is no lack here. Your taste buds will not miss the cream, and your body will sincerely thank you. I’ve also increased the amount of veg and added delectable butter beans to round out the meal.
Note: If you’re new to substituting nuts for dairy, please, don’t let this recipe scare you away. Give it a try. You’ll be more than pleasantly surprised.
Serves 6 – 8
Sunday Supper Stuffing
Prep ahead of time:
1 heaping cup cashews, soaked in filtered water with a pinch of salt
2 cups cooked butter beans (*if you want to cook them at home; otherwise, just use canned)
3 – 4 cups bread chunks, dried out—enough to cover a sheet pan (this is a great use for stale bread!)
At time of cooking:
2 – 3 medium to large yellow onions (more if small), thinly sliced
10 garlic cloves, pressed
oil, for the onions, preferably avocado; ghee will work, too
2 lbs. assorted brassicas, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used three broccoli crowns, a few handfuls of Brussels sprouts, and a bunch of Tuscan kale)
2 cups cashew cream: drain and rinse the soaked cashews, add to a high-speed blender with enough water to measure 2 cups total. Blend until smooth.
2.5 ounces sheep’s milk cheese, preferably a mix of Manchego and Percorino Romano, shredded in large shreds
2 cups butter beans, home cooked (or one 15-ounce can of butter beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly)
1 T. salt
white pepper, to taste
cayenne, to taste
fresh dill, tender bits chopped, to taste (I only had about 2 – 3 T. of it when I first made this; Molly Baz calls for 1 cup! Use what you like.)
zest of 1 lemon
- Ahead: Soak the cashews in filtered water (mix in a pinch of salt) for 4 – 8 hours. Make the cashew cream before beginning (see above).
- Rip up your stale bread into 1-inch chunks and toast in a low oven (300 F) until dried out. Feel free to use fresh bread. You’ll just need longer to toast it.
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Mis en place.
- Smash and peel the garlic cloves, press, and set aside to let the nutritious goodness activate before cooking.
- Heat up your cooking vessel (I baked mine in an 8 qt. stockpot, as my 5 qt. Dutch oven was too small to fit everything) on medium heat with a bit of oil. Add the onions to the pot with a bit of salt. Stir and cover to let sweat for 3 – 5 minutes. Uncover, reduce the heat a bit, and let cook a bit longer.
- Once the onions become translucent and soft, add the garlic, stir and let cook for about 1 – 2 minutes.
- Add the cashew cream to the alliums, stir in with the salt, spices, and dill.
- Begin to add the remaining ingredients a bit at a time, being sure to mix it all thoroughly.
- Place the pot, covered, in the oven and bake for about 1 hour, until veg and bread browns nicely.