Incredible. Delectable. I can't say enough about this dish, it's a new favorite. Although everything tastes awesome with Gruyere, that's not the only thing that makes this fantastic. In fact, I would use a bit less cheese next time. A panade is a sort of casserole with bread soaked in broth - it's kind of like stuffing, but sort of fancier. This one tastes kind of like French onion soup, but with great cabbage, herb and garlic flavor.
This is adapted from a Deborah Madison recipe, but I found it on a discussion thread on Chowhound, which, amazingly enough, started in 2007 and is still going - so many great cabbage recipes! It calls for juniper berries, which may be a bit difficult to find (I got them from the bulk spice section at our local co-op, which by the way is much more economical than buying spices at the regular grocery store!) You could leave them out, but they add a wonderful, unusual flavor. I never would have thought to cook cabbage with juniper or sage, but it's great!
3 T butter or olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 t juniper berries, crushed
2-3 lbs cabbage, quartered & sliced into ribbons
1-2 tsp ground rubbed sage
5 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh ground pepper
4 (or more) slices rye bread with caraway seed
1/2 - 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
3-4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 350. Heat butter or olive oil in skillet and fry the onion, and juniper berries until onions begin to brown. Add cabbage, sage, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup water to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally until cabbage is tender and browned in places, about 20 minutes.
Place half the cabbage into the dish, lay the rye bread over it to cover the baking dish in a single layer (you may need more than 4 slices depending on how big your dish is (as you can see, I used a cast iron frying pan, and I needed 5 slices). Then layer on the gruyere and finally the remaining cabbage. Pour the broth over everything and bake for around 45 minutes, until it's bubbly and the cabbage edges are browning. Spoon it into soup dishes. There should be some broth left in the pan, so ladle some into each bowl to serve.