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Murder, mystery, and onion panade, with author Kathleen Kaska

"bake, love, write", helena fairfax

This time next week it will be Thanksgiving in the States, and although we don’t celebrate that holiday here in the UK, that’s not going to stop me trying out this delicious and unusual recipe from American author friend Kathleen Kaska.

Kathleen has a new release out in her murder mystery series (details below) and is one of the contributors to our brilliant Bake, Love, Write dessert recipe book, which is available in paperback on Amazon US and also on Amazon UK, and also in Kindle format.

Thanks for coming by, Kathleen!


Onion Panade , by Kathleen Kaska

kathleen kaska, helena fairfax, bake love writeFor years whenever I prepared Thanksgiving dinner, I relied on old standard side dishes, most of which came from my mother’s menu: green bean casserole; baked sweet potatoes; broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes and cream gravy. Get the picture: casserole; potatoes; casserole; potatoes.

A couple of years ago I was looking to mix it up a bit; set a dish on the table no one had ever eaten, at least in my family. I came across this recipe in one of my favorite foodie books, Poor Man’s Feast by Elissa Altman. It’s not only unbelievably simple to prepare, it’s also become my favorite comfort food. The dish is called Onion Panade and it’s now a permanent addition to my Thanksgiving meal.

Altman refers to the dish as “peasant food.” I like to call it the French Onion Soup of casseroles. Her recipe calls for seven ingredients; I’ve added two more and made some minor adjustments.


3 tablespoons of olive oil

2 large yellow onions thinly sliced

6 cloves of minced garlic

1 cup of sliced mushrooms

pinch of salt

6 slices of day-old bread. Any kind will do: white, grain, French (I’ve even used croutons. But my favorite is toasted focaccia.)

1 ½ cups of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

3 ounces of goat cheese (85 gsm)

2 to 3 cups stock (beef, chicken, or vegetable)


Preheat oven to 325 F. (170 C / gas mark 3)

In a large skillet (British: frying pan), heat olive oil until it shimmers. Add onion slices and toss to coat them with oil. After about fifteen minutes, add the mushrooms and garlic and continue to cook until the mixture turns golden brown and begins to caramelize. Remove from heat and season with salt.

Lightly grease a two-quart (2 litre) casserole dish. Line the bottom with bread. Spoon a layer of onion mixture over the bread. Dot with an ounce of goat cheese. Top with ¼ cup grated cheese or enough to cover the onion mixture. Continue layering until the bread, onion mixture, and cheeses are used, reserving ¼ to 1/3 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Slowly pour the stock into the dish, until it almost reaching the lip. Add the rest of the grated cheese on top.

Carefully place the dish on a baking sheet.

Slide into the oven and bake until bubbly and the top turns golden brown. Usually about 1½ hour.

Serve while hot.

I couldn’t find the origin of the recipe, but several versions show up in Spanish, French, Italian, British, and Indonesian cuisine. One of the nice things about the dish is its versatility. You can turn it into a main dish by adding other ingredients such as: beef; lamb; chicken; crab; spinach; kale, and yes, even potatoes.

* * * *

kathleen kaska, helena fairfaxNow here’s a taste of Murder at the Driskill.

You’d think that newspaper reporter Sydney Lockhart, comfortable at home in Austin, Texas, could stay away from hotels and murders therein. But when she and her detective boyfriend, Ralph Dixon, hang out a shingle for their new detective agency, they immediately land a high-profile case, which sends them to the swanky Driskill Hotel. Businessman Stringer Maynard has invited them to a party to meet his partner/brother-in-law, Leland Tatum, who’s about to announce his candidacy for governor. Maynard needs their help because Tatum is hanging out with the wrong crowd and jeopardizing his chances for winning the election. Before Sydney can finish her first martini, a gunshot sounds and Leland Tatum is found murdered in a suite down the hall.

Available on Amazon US and Amazon UK


Kathleen Kaska writes the award-winning Sydney Lockhart mysteries. Her first two books Murder at the Arlington and Murder at the Luther, were selected as bonus-books for the Pulpwood Queens Book Group, the largest book group in the country. Kaska also writes the Classic Triviography Mystery Series. Her Alfred Hitchcock and the Sherlock Holmes trivia books were finalists for the 2013 EPIC award in nonfiction. Her nonfiction book, The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story (University Press of Florida) was published in 2012.

* * *

Kathleen, that sounds an absolutely delicious recipe. I love French onion soup, and this seems like a tasty variation, and very easy to make. And I love the sound of your murder mystery. What a thrilling blurb! Thanks so much for coming by and sharing.

Did you enjoy Kathleen’s recipe? And have you ever heard of onion panade? If you have any questions or comments at all, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!



11 thoughts on “Murder, mystery, and onion panade, with author Kathleen Kaska

  1. Aloha Helena and Kathleen,

    Ohh, love that onion panade recipe. I could taste the rich flavors just reading it. Gorgeous!! :-) I have to say, I’ve tried over the years to come up with different Thanksgiving recipes too. But this one’s a beauty.

    Good luck with your book. I hope it does really well.

    Aloha Meg :-)


  2. Hey, Helena. What a great dish, Kathleen. I’m going to try it, but not for Thanksgiving. We have too many heavy on the carbs dishes as it is. :) But I’m too much of a fan of onion soup, not to try this. Thanks for sharing. Sounds like you’ve hit on a clever idea to hang your stories around. I think I’ve heard there’s a ghost at the Driskill. Beautiful old hotel. Good luck with your book


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