Gifts in a Jar
6 slices (1/2-inch thick) day-old crusty French bread
3 cloves garlic
Black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chicken broth
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
1/2 sweet red pepper, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cups torn escarole or dark cabbage
1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can plum tomatoes, drained, juices reserved
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Oregano leaves (garnish)
Grease a baking sheet. Put the bread on the sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Cut 1 garlic clove in half and rub on each side of the toast slices. Sprinkle with black pepper and set aside.
Heat the oil and broth mixture in a 4-quart pot. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
Mince the remaining garlic. Add the garlic, carrots and celery to the pot. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
Add the zucchini, squash, sweet peppers and oregano; cook for 5 minutes.
Add the escarole, beans and tomatoes; cook until the escarole wilts, about 2 minutes.
Add black pepper. Pour the vegetable mixture into a 3-quart casserole and top with the toast.
In a large measuring cup, combine the reserved tomato juice and the broth; pour over the toast. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
Bake at 375 degrees F until the cheese has melted, about 30 minutes.
Let stand for 5 minutes and garnish with oregano.