Cleaning house for Passover? Here’s how to use up that bread

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As Passover approaches, I’m in a hurry to use up any bread I have in the house. These recipes do that very tastefully. In each the bread is transformed; it is no longer an accompaniment but an integral part of the flavor and texture of the dish.

I’ve made recommendations about what kind of bread to use in each recipe, but I’ve also made these dishes with all sorts of odds and ends. I’ve made the chicken shalet with everything from sourdough bread to defrosted hot dog rolls. The New Orleans bread pudding works with cubed white bread, cake and/or muffins. A rustic peasant bread substitutes for the whole wheat with the winter squash and greens soup.

Chicken Shalet

Serves 4

2 Tbs. oil, plus extra for greasing casserole

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups chopped kale and/or chard

2 cups chopped tomatoes

¼ tsp ground mustard

¼ tsp. ground dried sage

¼ tsp. ground dried thyme

¼ tsp. ground dried oregano

¼ tsp. ground cayenne

¼ tsp. salt

½ tsp. ground black pepper

½ cup water

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups chicken stock

4 cups 1-inch rustic bread cubes

2 cups shredded, cooked chicken

½ tsp. paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2-quart casserole. In a large pan, heat oil and sauté onions and garlic until golden. Add greens, tomatoes, mustard, sage, thyme, oregano, cayenne, salt, pepper and water. Cook, stirring often, until greens are cooked and water evaporated. Remove from heat. Combine eggs with stock and add with bread and chicken to the vegetable mixture. Mix well. Pour into casserole. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 50 minutes.

New Orleans Bread Pudding

Serves 6

¼ cup + 1 Tbs. butter, plus extra for greasing casserole

2 cups milk

½ cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1/8 tsp salt

½ tsp nutmeg

4 cups ½-inch challah cubes

¼ cup rum

1 cup pecan halves

2 bananas, cut in ¼-inch slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart casserole. In a saucepan, heat ¼ cup butter, milk and sugar until butter has melted and milk is simmering. Add to eggs in a large bowl, continually whisking. Mix in salt, nutmeg, bread, rum, pecans and bananas. Pour into casserole. Dot top with 1 Tbs. butter and place inside a baking dish filled with hot water up to level of pudding. Bake for 55 minutes or until set.

Winter Squash and Greens Soup

Serves 6

2 Tbs. oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. herbes de Provence or Italian seasoning

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground black pepper

¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

¼ tsp. ground cumin

4 cups 1-inch cubes of winter squash 

8 cups vegetable stock

8 cups chopped kale and/or chard

½ tsp. sugar

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

6 cups 1-inch whole wheat bread cubes

Heat oil in large soup pot. Sauté onions and garlic until golden. Add seasoning, salt, peppers, cumin and squash. Stir. Add stock. Simmer about 15 minutes. Add greens. Simmer until vegetables are cooked. Stir in sugar and vinegar. Place a cup of bread cubes in each individual bowl and ladle hot soup on top.

Faith Kramer
is a Bay Area food writer and blogger. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. She blogs her food at www.clickblogappetit. E-mail questions and suggestions to [email protected].

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].