Monday, June 29, 2009

Swiss Chard Gratin

I did not faithfully use the Swiss Chard last year when we got it in our share. One time, they totally wilted in the fridge (wrap them up loosely in plastic wrap). I can't remember if I made anything food with them any other time, I think I may have avoided taking them cause I just didn't know what the heck to do with them!

This week I was determined to make something I would enjoy, and not waste my Swiss Chard. Looking through my cookbooks, I saw a recipe for Swiss Chard Rib Gratin, in Starting with Ingredients by Aliza Green. A gratin sounded good, it is hard to imagine anything covered in a creamy, cheesy sauce not being yummy.
I altered the recipe to suit my tastes, and included the chopped up leaves as well, to add color and not be wasteful. I added onion and a little potato as well. It was so very very good! I have made other gratins before, with varying vegetables. This is my favorite one so far.
4-5 leaves Swiss chard leaves, ribs separated
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
1-2 onions
extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt, freshly ground pepper
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar and parmesan cheese

Chop up the chard stems
Aren't they colorful?
Here is what one looks like before you chop it up.

Boil them with the potatoes in a small pot, not too long. Until they start to become tender. Set aside.

Then, heat a pan with a little olive oil and saute the chopped chard leaves and onion, just for about 5 minutes. Set aside, you can put it in the same bowl as the rib mixture.
In a saucepan melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
Preheat the oven to 350.
Meanwhile, combine the milk with the coriander, nutmeg, thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper and scald. While the hot milk mixture into the roux (the butter and flour paste). Bring slowly to a boil, stirring frequently and making sure not to burn the bottom of the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in most of the cheese.
In a shallow baking dish, spread some of the sauce to cover the bottom of the dish. Spread a layer of veggies,

Here are the first layers of sauce and veggies.
And close up.
Then keep adding layers: sauce, veggies, sauce, and finish with the remaining cheese. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until browned and bubbling. Remove the dish from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. The cooling is important, it will be very runny if you try to dish it up right from the oven!

This was seriously delicious. I only have this slightly messy picture of the finished product, because I gobbled most of mine

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