Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chard Gratin

I'm putting this down from memory and notes of ingredients so be warned that it is not precise.

My chard plants have very large juicy stems and the 2 pounds of chard that I used yielded a pound of leafy greens and a pound of stems (including the thickest part of the mid ribs). If your chard is leafier then you will have less bulk since the leafy parts cook down more than the stems so you might want to adjust accordingly. This makes a rather thin gratin, if you want to use a smaller pan and make it thicker you might want to try adding an egg to the creme fraiche so that the gratin doesn't come out somewhat soupy. This dish is fairly rich and was great as a vegetarian main dish accompanied by a salad.

2 pounds chard including the stems
8 oz. sweet onion, coarsely chopped
a few springs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 or 3 cloves garlic, or to taste, minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 more tablespoons olive oil
1 cup fresh bread crumbs from a rustic type of bread
1/2 cup creme fraiche
fresh grated nutmeg to taste
3 ounces Comte cheese (gruyere, cheddar, etc.), grated

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Wash the chard and cut the leaves from the stems and mid ribs, set the stems aside. Put the wet leaves in a large saute pan over medium heat and cover. Cook until the leaves have wilted, turning them a few times. Drain in a colander and leave them until they are cool enough to handle. Wipe out the pan and return it to the heat.

While the chard leaves are cooling, saute the onion and whole thyme sprigs in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until it starts to turn golden. While the onion is cooking, cut the chard stems crosswise into 1/4-inch thick (or so) slices, diagonally if the stems are narrow. Add the chard stems to the onions, stir to mix, cover the pan and let them cook, stirring occasionally until they are tender. Remove the lid for the last few minutes to allow any juices to cook off.

While the stems are cooking, take small handfuls of the card leaves and squeeze gently to remove excess moisture. Coarsely chop the leaves and set aside.

Toss the fresh bread crumbs with the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil, spread them in a baking  pan and bake about 7 or 8 minutes or until crisp and golden. Remove them from the pan to stop them from browning more, set aside to cool.

When the chard stems have been cooked until tender, remove the thyme springs (most of the leaves will have fallen off, that's ok), add the chopped garlic and cook a minute or so. Add the chopped chard leaves and stir to mix and saute a couple more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread in a 15- X 10-inch oval gratin pan (or similar sized rectangular baking dish), it won't be very thick. Stir some fresh grated nutmeg into the creme fraiche and pour it over the vegetables. Scatter the cheese evenly over all and then the bread crumbs. Bake about 25 minutes until bubbly and hot, serve immediately.

Yield about 4 servings.


  1. Thank you for the recipe! I will definitely be trying out this recipe when the in-laws arrive next week.

  2. I was just looking at a recipe like this from whole foods. Seems like more of a summer approach to chard. I also found a recipe for just the stems that looked really good: http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/2008/02/baked-swiss-chard-stems-recipe-with.html

  3. Don't know which i enjoy more~reading about your garden or reading your recipes! Looking forward to trying this one.

  4. I just love reading new chard recipes. Now I'm so hungry!
    This will definitely be on my "to do" list, and I will try it with adding an egg.

  5. Thanks for the lovely comments everyone. I hope you like the recipe and would love any feedback or suggestions that would be helpful for anyone else that might try the recipe.


    Dan - that chard stem recipe looks good and really simple too, thanks for the link.

  6. Thanks for the recipe, looks like something I can do without messing up.

  7. mac, it is a forgiving recipe, but I'm sure that's not necessary. :)


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