If you're Vietnamese, you've probably heard your mom say "tội chết" ("dreadfully sinful" in Vietnamese) in regards to wasting food. The lesson was definitely hammered into me, and now that I'm an adult, I intend to follow in my mom's footsteps and teach the same values to my daughter.
I love Acme brand green onion slab bread. It's very flavorful, moist and delicious. I went a little over-board buying 4 loaves at Costco. I made panini sandwiches the day before and had one left-over on the kitchen counter. Today, my goal was to come up with a creative way to use it all. I made stuffing using the onion bread with ground beef, artichoke hearts, tomato paste and mozzarella cheese. I moistened the bread with beef stock I had stored in the freezer. It makes a wonderful one-dish meal once the little casserole dish is heated and broiled in the oven. And if the slightly stale bread didn't have green onion in it, I could have made pain perdu (french toast) as well!
Servings: 4 servings
1 (16-ounce) loaf day-old green onion slab bread
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ cup olive oil
½ pound ground beef
1 cup canned fire-roasted tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons Greek-style plain yogurt
½ sprig oregano, finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon homemade chile garlic sauce
(click on the link for the recipe), or store-bought
1-½ tablespoons tomato paste
2-½ cups warm beef stock
1 fresh mozzarella ball, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons curly parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cut the bread into about 1-½-inch cubes. No need to cut off the crusts. Spread the bread cubes on a greased baking sheet. Add 2 cloves of garlic and toss well. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss well.
Bake for about 6-8 minutes. Toss the croutons once half-way through the baking process. All sides should be slightly golden. Remove from the oven. Set aside to cool.
Cooking ground beef:
Heat the oil in a large, deep non-stick pan. Add half the onions and cook until golden brown. Increase the heat and add the remaining clove of garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add the chile garlic sauce. Decrease the heat and add the tomatoes, oregano and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley . Simmer until a little of the liquid evaporates and the mixture becomes thicker.
Bring the heat back to high and add the ground meat. Separate the beef in the pan until the meat changes color; add the yogurt (that way the meat is very tender). Stir the meat occasionally. Add about ½ cup of beef stock. Wait for the mixture to reach a full boil, then immediately turn the heat down to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes. Check the liquid and periodically add ¼ to ½ cup of additional water if all the previous liquid is absorbed. Check seasoning.
Cooking the artichokes:
In a large pot, add the remaining chopped onions. Sauté until the color is translucent; season with salt and pepper. Add the artichokes. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Finish with 1 tablespoon parsley. Transfer to a plate.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In the same large pot, add a cup of beef stock. Once the liquid has reached a boil, add the croutons and stir well. Add the tomato paste, honey (if used), the remaining beef stock with the artichoke and ground beef mixtures. Stir well. The entire mixture should be moist, but not mushy. Adjust the seasoning. Add more salt (if necessary) and black pepper. Finish with the remaining parsley. Stir well.
Place the beef stuffing in a greased casserole dish. Cover with mozzarella slices.
Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes and then broil for about 2-3 minutes to get a nice, golden top.
Instead of placing the stuffing in a casserole dish, you could stuff a whole artichoke for a pretty presentation as a reminder of the filling.
Waste not, want not. Croutons are a perfect way to recycle stale bread. Check out my other version with brown butter baguette. You can also make bread crumbs for mac & cheese or garlic bread for soups and salads.
I used Acme brand green onion slab bread. It's very flavorful, moist and delicious. You can find it at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. The address is Marketplace Shop #15. You can also find this particular bread at Costco and at Milk Pail, 2585 California Street, Mountain View, CA 94040.
I made my own beef stock but you can use canned if you like.
Check out more recipes with bread.