Swiss chard is one of the most beautiful plants we grow. The stalks vary from white to yellow to pink to red to striped and the large green leaves are accented by veins of matching colors. Swiss chard is a relative of beets and the leaves have a similar flavor. So, if you like beet greens, you will most likely enjoy chard as well.
My first love of Swiss chard was in Turkey Chard Chili and it still is one of my favorite chili recipes. Plus, it freezes incredibly well. I know a few families who got their kids to eat greens because of this chili. It’s that good. Make a double or triple batch and freeze it for super easy Winter dinners. When you’re heating it up, try cooking it for a bit to reduce the liquid. Then, top tortilla chips for some tasty nachos!
We are often asked about the stems of Swiss chard. Can you eat them? Yes, of course! But, they take longer to cook than the greens. And how? Well, until recently, I had simply talked about the possibility of a Swiss chard gratin and a recipe I had seen in Nigel Slater’s book, Tender. (Which, by the way, is an excellent book full of simple recipes for nearly every vegetable you can imagine.)
Matt looked at the recipe the other night and then did what he usually does. He put the book away, went into the kitchen, and started to prep. So, this recipe is a loose interpretation of Nigel’s recipe. We served ours with homemade white pepper pork sausages and roasted tomatoes. So good.
Swiss Chard Gratin
* serves 2-4
- Butter (to butter the baking dish)
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 1 Tablespoon creamy Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt & pepper
- Generous handful of freshly grated Parmesan
- Heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat pot of lightly salted water over high heat.
- Butter a small gratin dish (our is a rounded 6×10)
- Remove stems from leaves. Rough chop leaves. Chop stems into inch pieces.
- When water is boiling, add stems. Cook until crisp tender, a couple minutes. Remove stems and place in a bowl. Add leaves and cook for about 30 seconds, just until leaves turn bright green. Remove and add to bowl with stems.
- Put whipping cream into a bowl. Stir in Dijon mustard. Season with Kosher salt & pepper.
- Pour mixture over Swiss chard stems and leaves. Mix well and put into your buttered gratin dish, leveling the top slightly.
- Cover with Parmesan cheese and bake until bubbly and the top starts to turn golden, about 35 minutes.
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