I don’t know about you, but I’m really into the whole vegetable movement. To limit food waste and use every part of those pricey organic vegetables from leaf to stem.
It may sound weird but I adore chard stems. Typically, I’ll chop them and toss them into the pan with the onions, ahead of the green leaves, when cooking a simple chard saute.
I love their crunch and color. As my food hero, Nigel Slater says, chard is really two vegetables in one.
Chard gratin is a rich dish of love and comfort, perfect for serving your sweetheart as a side dish for roast chicken or roast beef. The cream in the gratin puddles on your plate for swooping bites through it: instant sauce.
But chard gratin is also stellar on its own and deserves to be the main dish.
I’m partial to a simple tossed green salad and crisp white wine. Served this way, it feels just like going out to dinner.
This gratin takes only a few minutes to prep and can even be prepared up to two days in advance before baking.
Busy yourself in other ways while it bakes beautifully browned and bubbly. Ready for sharing.
How are you using whole vegetables? Let me know in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook.
Creamy Chard Gratin
Rich with cream and cheese, chard gratin makes a stellar main dish. And it’s a perfect side dish for roast chicken or beef with a built-in cream sauce. It’s a good reason to save your chard stems. It can be prepared up to two days in advance and baked until bubbling before serving.
- 2 bunches Swiss chard or about 12 ounces reserved chard stems
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper or black pepper
- pinch nutmeg
- 1/2 cup grated Gruyere or another melting cheese
Trim the leaves from the chard and reserve them for another use. Trim the chard stem ends and cut into 4-inch lengths.
Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil and blanch the chard stems until you can easily pierce the chard stems with a fork, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, butter a shallow baking dish, such as a 9×13-inch baking pan. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Drain the chard stems well and arrange them into the prepared pan with the bay leaf. Whisk the cream with the mustard, salt, pepper and nutmeg and pour over the chard stems so they are just barely covered. Sprinkle on the cheese.
Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes.
If preparing the gratin in advance, store covered in the refrigerator up to two days in advance.