This leek and Swiss chard gratin is easy to make and wonderfully comforting, smothered in a delicious cheesy sauce. A side dish that steals the show (or, as I did, devour it for lunch).
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I've come to love getting a big old box of vegetables delivered every other week. It's a great way to help me cook both seasonally and using local ingredients as far as possible. Plus, it gives you a few things you might not otherwise cook with to try.
Now and again, though, there are things that I do basically like that I find myself thinking I need a new way to cook. I'm not someone who can eat the same few things in rotation. I've grown to know the kids do have favorites we have a lot, for ease.
But I need to have a bit of variety, too. Sometimes that just means I need to have a few ways to use most ingredients to save getting bored of them.
Chard is one of those ingredients where I do like it, and it's nice to add to curries and a few other things like soups and salads, but I was feeling like something a bit different last time it was in my box.
This leek and Swiss chard gratin was my alternative way of using it, but that ended up being a side dish that was the star of our meal.
The chard wilts down and loses any bitterness it may have in amongst the cheese sauce with the additional sweetness from the leeks. The whole thing just melts in your mouth but with a delicious flavor that's both comforting and warming.
We had it alongside some parmesan-crumbed chicken and rutabaga fries (I'll try to remember to share them sometime soon as well) and certainly something like grilled meat is a perfect accompaniment to this dish.
See, already, I am thinking of this leek and Swiss chard gratin as the thing you need to pair something with, rather than the other way round, it was that tasty.
How to make leek and Swiss chard gratin
This dish is very easy to make and uses only one pan. That's partly thanks to me resurrecting the technique I used for my turkey/chicken, leek and mushroom crepe filling that makes the sauce in with the cooked vegetables.
It really does also magically seem to lead to less issues with lumps than a regular way of making sauce as an extra bonus. Then after a few minutes on the stove, it's finished off in the oven and that's it.
We will definitely be having this again and adding it to the 'things to do with chard' list. Even if you are not sure about chard, I would still suggest you give it a go, as it really is very tasty and may surprise you, the flavors are so mellow.
You could also probably easily swap out the chard for spinach, if you prefer. Just be aware spinach will wilt quicker so you may want to adjust timing. Don't skip the leek, though, as it adds a great depth of flavor and slight sweetness that is part of why it is so much more than a plain old side.
It might not look all that pretty when it is served up, but this leek and Swiss chard gratin makes up for anything it is lacking in looks with flavor. I hope you'll give it a try and agree.
Try these other Swiss chard recipes:
- Chard couscous stuffed fish
- Catalan-style sauteed Swiss chard with raisins and pine nuts
- Chard pesto and mozzarella orzo bake
- Plus get more side dish recipes in the archives.
Leek and Swiss chard gratin
- 5 ½ oz chard leaves from 1 bunch, approx 11oz/300g, leaves weight approx 5 ½oz/ 150g
- 1 leek small
- ¾ tablespoon butter
- ½ tablespoon flour
- ¾ cup milk 120ml
- ¼ cup parmesan 8g, grated
- ¼ cup gruyere 8g, grated
- Preheat oven to 425F/220C.
- Slice the chard leaves into relatively thin strips, cutting longer pieces in half, and leek in thin rings.
- In a small skillet/frying pan that is safe to go in the oven, melt ½ tbsb of the butter over a medium heat and add the leeks.
- Break up the rings and cook for around 5mins until they are starting to brown slightly.
- Add the remaining butter then add the flour and mix through well.
- Reduce the temperature a little then add the milk about ¼ cup at a time, stirring in well. Once all the milk is added, add the two cheeses and mix through, reserving a little to put on top.
- Add the chard a handful or two at a time and allow it to wilt in the sauce, it will darken and go limp after a couple minutes. Keep adding the rest, folding over the wilted chard below to help soften the chard you just added.
- Put the last little bit of cheese on top and place the pan in the oven for 15-20min until lightly brown on top. Serve immediately.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
See all the other comforting meatless ideas:
- Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Fresh Herb Bread Pudding by Wholistic Woman
- Baked Eggplant Parmesan Casserole by Jersey Girl Cooks
- Baked Mushroom Fettuccine by Delaware Girl Eats
- Cheesy Mushroom Marsala Pasta Casserole by Hot Eats and Cool Reads
- Greens and Pea Manicotti by Food Lust People Love
- Ricotta Pasta Frittata by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Roasted Vegetable Lasagna by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Tex Mex Vegetarian Bake Freestyle Recipe by Positively Stacey
- Spaghetti Squash Parmesan Casserole by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Spinach Ricotta Pasta Bake by The Bitter Side of Sweet
- Vegetarian Baked Pasta with Spinach and Gruyère by Cooking Chat
- Veggie & Quinoa Baked Stuffed Peppers by Hardly A Goddess
Remember to pin for later!
This was first shared in Feb 2015, now re-shared with a couple updates, including photos.
Lisa | Garlic & Zest
Caroline -- in my opinion, anything cooked in a bechamel is gonna be good! And gruyere - pick me! I admit I don't do a lot of cooking with chard -- but you should see it at my farmer's market right now -- crazy big! Going to try this soon!
I know what you mean! We're getting some nice chard too so it's becoming a bit more of a regular for us.
David @ Cooking Chat
Yum! Glad to find a new way to enjoy Swiss chard.
Thanks David, I agree always good to have some ideas at hand!
This looks delicious!
This sounds fabulous. I love chard.
Thanks Wendy, it's definitely a vegetable I am growing to love more and more.
Gorgeous dish, Caroline! Cheese makes everything better.
Thanks Stacy, I couldn't agree more!
I was just thinking the other day how I don't use chard enough. This is a good way to get started cooking with it.
Indeed it is - this is both easy and tasty. Thanks Christie.
Swiss chard is underrated so I'm glad to see this dish
Thanks Cathy, I agree it really is!
I could eat this with anything1
And it would go with a lot of things too!
There's something irresistible about greens and cheese. Love that this is a classic steakhouse side that can be easily made at home.
I agree, greens and cheese go so well.
What a fabulous way to enjoy greens! I MIGHT have to sub spinach to get the hubby to try this, or else I can just keep it all for myself 🙂
Thanks Liz, the chard becomes surprisingly mellow so it might be worth sneaking it in and seeing what happens! And if all else fails, as you say, all the more for you 🙂