Swiss Chard & Sweet Potato Gratin



As always, food ideas come to me in clusters. In Jasper, I pulled a recipe from Canadian Living for a cheesy chard gratin. When I got home and jumped around to some of my favourite food blogs to catch up on what’s been going on in everyone’s kitchens, Deb had made a chard gratin with sweet potatoes. Well, hello.

So obviously it was a sign. I picked up some chard. However. Have I mentioned the entertainment tax I paid last week? It cost me a full 8 pounds. Too much cheese, bread, butter, meat, desserts doused in whipped cream. Repeat. Have you ever heard Michael Pollan’s advice to “eat food, not too much, mostly plants”? In recent weeks (between Jasper, Toronto, Vancouver, Vegas and the Okanagan-yikes!) I’ve lived the opposite: “eat food, way too much, mostly stuff that didn’t grow out of the ground”.
And if it was a plant it was doused in thick, creamy balsamic dressing or béarnaise. Or both.

So this chard and sweet potato gratin seemed like a good idea, but I could hardly feel virtuous about a vegetable casserole made with 2 cups of heavy cream, butter and cheese, although I can’t imagine a tastier way to eat my vegetables. So I swapped the butter for oil, used milk (you could do half & half if you don’t want to lose the cream entirely) and eased up on the cheese a bit – this part I was most resistant to being stingy on – but a little went a long way. I used the end of a stump of Gruyére, and a bit of old Gouda. I also streamlined it a bit, mostly because I’m lazy and don’t much like doing dishes (or telling Mike to) and ditched the herbs (parsley and thyme). It was ridiculously good – sweet and warm and nutty from the cheese and nutmeg – and between the two of us (W would have nothing to do with it) we ate almost the whole thing. I had it for dinner and dessert.

Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin

adapted from SmittenKitchen

canola or olive oil, for cooking
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 bunches of Swiss chard, leaves and stems separated and both cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large dark-fleshed sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
light sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg
salt & pepper
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyére, old cheddar or Gouda cheese

Heat a drizzle of oil in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat and cook the onions for a few minutes. Add the chard (if you rinse the leaves first, they should have an ideal amount of moisture still clinging to them) and sprinkle with a bit of salt and cook until the chard wilts and there is no moisture left in the pan. Transfer to a bowl.

Add the butter and flour to the skillet and whisk together to make a paste. Whisk in the milk, then add the garlic and bring to a simmer. Boil for 2 minutes, whisking; season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread half of the sweet potatoes in the baking dish. Sprinkle with nutmeg, salt, pepper, half of the greens mixture, about half the cheese and half the sauce. Layer with the rest of the potatoes, the rest of the greens, the rest of the sauce, and top it all with the rest of the cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, then take the foil off and bake for another 15 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

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November 16 2009 07:01 pm | vegetables

17 Responses to “Swiss Chard & Sweet Potato Gratin”

  1. Cate on 16 Nov 2009 at 8:22 pm #

    Could spinach be a substitute for the chard?

  2. thepinkpeppercorn on 16 Nov 2009 at 8:42 pm #

    Delicious, cheesy (in the good way!) goodness!!!

  3. Cheryl on 16 Nov 2009 at 8:50 pm #

    Yum! If I’d seen this before dinner I would have made this with kale and sweet potatoe. Not that anyone was complaining about the roasted sweet potatoes I did make.

  4. Jan (Mixing Bowl Kids) on 16 Nov 2009 at 9:08 pm #

    Yum! Love swiss chard, love sweet potatoes and love cheese…so I can’t imagine this is anything other than amazing!

  5. Erica B. on 16 Nov 2009 at 9:43 pm #

    I’ve paid a bit of entertainment tax (ok a lot *groan*) lately and was drooling over SK’s post earlier and wondering how to lighten it up – Thank you! Chard is on the shopping list for tomorrow! =)

  6. robyn on 16 Nov 2009 at 10:00 pm #

    I love the “Serves 6” at the end of the post. Or perhaps “Serves 2” would be more appropriate?

  7. JulieVR on 16 Nov 2009 at 10:13 pm #

    Exactly! I think I use that joke way too often… and I’m not really joking…

  8. Bellini Valli on 17 Nov 2009 at 3:59 am #

    You have made me a believer and willing to give Swiss Chard a second chance:D

  9. Donna on 17 Nov 2009 at 11:16 am #

    Yum – I must try this soon. Too bad I did not freeze Chard last summer when I had too much. I will try with spinach.

  10. Mama JJ on 17 Nov 2009 at 11:32 am #

    I read Deb’s recipe carefully and then bought some sweet potatoes. Now you posted the same thing, casting your vote in the affirmative. I really need to get out to the garden and pick the chard ASAP.

  11. Beth @ 990 Square on 17 Nov 2009 at 11:53 am #

    We made this last night for dinner, with skim milk instead of cream and white cheddar and parmesan. It was GOOD. Still cheesy and satisfying, even with slightly reduced fat.

  12. Sarah G on 17 Nov 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    Oh, I’m so relieved that I am not alone in paying that tax. Now that I am house sitting in Tennessee and do nothing but cook and experiment with recipes, I know too well the tax on this hobby.

  13. Nancy on 17 Nov 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    Oooh, can’t wait! I still have nice swiss chard in my garden! Not sure if a bit of frost affects it, but it still looks good and is still growing if you can believe it, great weather for Toronto in November!

    Yum yum, thanks for this!

  14. Nancy on 17 Nov 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    Oooh, can’t wait! I still have nice swiss chard in my garden! Not sure if a bit of frost affects it, but it still looks good and is still growing if you can believe it, great weather for Toronto in November!

    Yum yum, thanks for this!

  15. Natasha Platt on 18 Nov 2009 at 4:10 pm #

    I made this last night and it was great! I ended up using what I had, which was one small sweet potato, one small yam and one small potato (no I haven’t been shopping at the mini-mart – that’s just what I had), and a huge bunch of chard (Sobey’s usually has good chard). My Oma in Switzerland taught me how to cook and about once a month she’d take all the cheese bits (yes, it helped that my uncle makes Tilsiter up in the Alps…) and grate them all for a cheese and onion pie. This is usually what I do with a ready made pie shell, but last night they all went into this dish and it tasted great. I think there were 6 cheeses….yum!

  16. Blog Aid Update | dinner with Julie on 31 Jan 2010 at 11:53 pm #

    […] have no recipe on offer today. I did slip into the kitchen last night to make a sweet potato and chard gratin – I needed vegetables, but also comfort in the form of warm food and bubbly cheese. Mike […]

  17. Lisa on 27 Nov 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    I cannot tell if I bought Kale or Swiss Chard ? how can you tell the difference ? Also I am so confused, sweet potato here in Canada at the stores is white fleshed, Yams are orange…what did you use?

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