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).
I do like 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, as well as giving you a few things you might not otherwise cook with a 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 – although the kids do have favorites we have a lot. I need to have a bit of variety and that means I do 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.
It is also very easy to make and uses only one pan, 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 it will wilt quicker so be aware. 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 it makes up for anything it is lacking in looks with flavor. I hope you’ll give it a try and agree.
An easy, comforting side that goes with a range of mains (or eat as lunch for 1!)
- 5 1/2 oz chard leaves from 1 bunch, approx 11oz/300g, leaves weight approx 5 1/2oz/ 150g
- 1 leek small
- 3/4 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tbsp flour
- 3/4 cup milk 120ml
- 1/4 cup parmesan 8g, grated
- 1/4 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 1/2 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 1/4 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.
Try these other tasty ways with chard:
See all the other meatless ideas for today’s Sunday Supper:
- 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
- Leek and Swiss Chard Gratin by Caroline’s Cooking (you’re here!)
- Mushroom Breakfast Casserole by Brunch-n-Bites
- Raisin Bread Cheddar Strata by Pies and Plots
- 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
- Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Vegetarian Baked Pasta with Spinach and Gruyère by Cooking Chat
- Vegetarian Enchiladas Recipe with Chickpea Curry by Sunday Supper Movement
- Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie by Simple and Savory
- 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.