Grease a casserole dish with EVOO or butter and preheat oven to 400ºF. Arrange bread slices in a casserole dish in a tight-fitting layer.
Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan, in a saucepot over medium-high heat. Add meat or mushrooms and brown well. Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic, and season with salt, pepper and bay leaf. Cook to soften then add tomato paste, nutmeg and cloves. Stir in stock and bring to a bubble. Add milk and simmer 30 minutes to thicken.
Spoon sauce over bread and top with cheese. Bake 30 minutes until cheese is melted and brown. Serve in shallow bowls with sauteed kale or dark greens salad alongside.