Layered Grapes and Bread with Chèvre and Balsamic

By gingerroot
October 8, 2012
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Author Notes: With a nod to Judy Rodgers' Chard and Onion Panade from her Zuni Café Cookbook, but with much less liquid so the top is crispy while the interior is soft but not soupy. Which I guess makes this a savory grape stuffing. Whatever you call it, with a dark ribbon of balsamic and dots of chèvre and bites of sweet black grapes, it makes for a delicious side. It's also good the next day. gingerroot

Serves: 6 to 8 as a side

For the bread:

  • 10 ounces day-old sourdough, cut into 1-inch cubes (8 to 9 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Place bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Using your hands, toss the cubes to distribute the oil. Add garlic, thyme, and black pepper and toss again to evenly coat. Toast bread in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring cubes with a wooden spoon at the halfway point. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Turn oven down to 325° F.

For everything else:

  • 2 large sweet onions (1 pound total)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra for the dish
  • 3 tablespoons port, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pound organic seedless black grapes, de-stemmed and halved (about 4 cups), divided
  • 1 1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • 4 1/2 ounces chèvre
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  1. Trim ends from onions and peel papery skin. Cut onions in half. With the cut side down, thinly slice lengthwise. Repeat until you have cut all of the onion.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, until shimmering. Add onions and stir to coat. Spread onions out evenly across pan. Turn heat down to low and allow onions to cook, undisturbed, for 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons port and a pinch of salt and continue to cook for 40 minutes more, occasionally stirring to promote even coloring and prevent burning. As you are cooking and stirring, add a teaspoon or two of water if the onions seem dry. Onions are finished when they are fragrant and deep golden brown. Add remaining tablespoon of port, stir, and transfer to a bowl.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine balsamic vinegar with 2 cups of halved grapes. Bring mixture to a boil and turn down to maintain a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl or 1-cup Pyrex measure.
  4. Warm the chicken stock in a small saucepan over low heat.
  5. Oil the bottom of a rectangular ceramic roaster (about 2-quart capacity). Spread 1/3 of the caramelized onions in the bottom of the dish, followed by 1/3 of the reserved toasted bread, drizzle 1/3 of the cooked grape-vinegar mixture, spread 1/3 of the remaining raw grapes, and dot with 1/3 of the chèvre. Repeat layering ingredients, starting with onions and ending with chèvre, until you run out. The top layer can incorporate a little of everything. Finish the top by evenly sprinkling the Parmesan.
  6. Ladle the warmed stock around the edges of the dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove foil and turn heat up to 375° F. Continue baking for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow dish to cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!

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