This recipe, inspired by the Redwall Cookbook for kids, has nothing to do with pigs. For the life of me, I can’t come up with a reason that explains why they named it a hogbake. Perhaps it’s a typo, and they meant to call it a henbake.
Regardless, I loved its simple healthy ingredients. In my version, I stuck to a full-fat cheddar, mild to appeal to kids’ sensitive palates. In that same vein, I used sweet, Vidalia-style onions, cut up small. However, to up the nutrition, I substituted whole grain cheerios for cornflakes and used skim milk, less than called for originally.
And now for the kale
I decided to take a chance… I used up the kale from my fridge in this dish. I hear you. Kale can be hard to love. But you’ll have to trust me on this. I’ve found two ways to use it that are really really tasty. In this recipe, it’s served cooked. In another post still to come, I’ll give you a kale salad that is to live for. Any time you use kale, you are upping the nutrition tremendously for your family.
Make using kale easy
As soon as I bring my humongous bouquet of kale home from the market, I cut out the ribs with a sharp paring knife and chuck them. They are edible, cooked, but we don’t like their toughness. So out they go.
Then I submerge the leaves in the bowl of my salad spinner for a few minutes, swishing to clean and spinning them dry. I may have to do this in two or three batches, depending on how much kale there is. I lay the leaves on a clean tea towel, fold the long sides over the leaves, and roll from the end as tightly as I can. I put the tea towel roll in a plastic bag, seal, and store in the fridge. Kale lasts 2 or 3 weeks this way.
When I want to use some, I take out a few handfuls and chop it finely, turning the board so I can chop in both directions. I put the chopped kale in a bowl and add a tiny bit of sea salt.
This is the magic part. Massage the salt into the leaves with your hands, squeezing as hard as you can. Unless you massage kale, it remains tough and bitter.
Crispy cheese ‘N onion hogbake
Serves 4 for brunch, baked in a 6-cup /1.5-liter casserole
- 1 medium onion (about 2 cups), diced
- 2 cups (4 oz) grated cheddar cheese
- 4 eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup milk (Vinny suggests using skim)
- 1 or 2 cups finely chopped and massaged kale (see above)
- 1 cup whole grain cheerios (leave out if you want gluten free)
- 1 large tomato, sliced (or enough to cover the top of your casserole)
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Place onions in a large oiled casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the onions. Beat the egg with the milk and pour into the casserole. Season with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle the cereal over all and arrange the tomatoes to cover.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes (no less!). Serve hot.
We thought our hogbake came out as a delicious, crustless egg pie. We didn’t miss the crust one bit. There are more flavors than in the usual quiche (a plus) but none of them overwhelm. The kids liked it, even the onions. Even the kale!
The recipe is designed to be easy enough for a kid to make himself. But if you want to get a little fancier, many folks prefer to saute the onion in a little coconut oil before adding them to the casserole. I liked the flavor of my sweet, baked onions, though, and suggest you try this dish without sauteing the onions.
Another thought regarding the name: it’s not particularly crispy! The cereal absorbs liquid in the baking and the tomatoes on top stay moist, not exactly crisp.
We did discover why it’s called a hogbake, though. It’s just so good you want to hog the whole thing!