Thursday, January 6, 2011

Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin

The planning before Christmas had me combing trusted blogs in persuit of a side that was not our family's regular fare but still would be tasty and well received. I found this delightful recipe on Smitten Kitchen's blog for Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin.

There's no doubt that prepping the chard is a bit of work but the end result was so worth the effort. I slimmed down the heavy cream to 2% milk and found that the recipe didn't lose in translation.

Apologies for the dark picture but it was taken in a low light room.

Serves 12
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 pounds Swiss chard, leaves and stems separated and both cut into 1-inch pieces
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups heavy cream or whole milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons flour
2 pounds medium red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) coarsely grated Gruyére cheese

Prep greens: Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a wide 8-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add chard stems, pinch of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender but not browned, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to moderately high and add chard leaves by large handfuls, stirring, until all greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper then transfer greens to a colander to drain well and press out liquid with back of a large spoon.

Make sauce: Combine cream or milk and garlic in small saucepan; bring to simmer; keep warm. Melt two tablespoons butter in a medium heavy saucepan over moderate heat and stir in flour. Cook roux, whisking, one minute, then slowly whisk in warm cream/milk and boil, whisking, one minute. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Assemble gratin: Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter deep 9×13 baking dish. Spread half of sweet potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, a quarter of the herbs and a 1/4 cup of the cheese. Distribute half of the greens mixture over the cheese, then sprinkle salt, pepper, a quarter of the herbs and 1/4 cup of the cheese over it. Pour half of bechamel sauce over the first two layers then continue with the remaining sweet potatoes, more salt, pepper, herbs and cheese and then the remaining greens, salt, pepper and herbs. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the gratin, pressing the vegetables slightly to ensure that they are as submerged as possible. Sprinkle with the last 1/4 cup of cheese.

Bake gratin for about 1 hour until golden and bubbly, and most of the liquid is absorbed. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Note: I baked it the day before and warmed it the day of and it was great. I wouldn't hesitate to make this recipe again. It was a huge hit. StumbleUpon


FOODalogue said...

Surprised by the yams instead of white potato. I bet that made for a great flavor combo. And anything gratin...

All the best in the new year,

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This had to be a big hit over the holidays, and in keeping with the spirit of New years good for you too.

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

I've bookmarked this to make in the cooler months. Love the combo and it really screams "comfort food"! All the best for 2011!

cocoa and coconut said...

This is definitely something my family would eat! I'm glad there is a milk alternative though, without compromise to the taste. Those veggies look fabulous

Mélodie said...

Ça a l'air bon! I had bookmarked the original on Smitten Kitchen and I'm so glad to see yours. It looks as good (maybe even better...). I'm sure I'll have some chard in my veg basket this Saturday.

kat said...

There have been a few sweet potato gratins on peoples blogs lately & I just have to make one now.

That Girl said...

Everyone is coming with chard this week. I feel so uncool.