Swiss Chard and Leek Gratin

Until a few years ago, I had never heard of swiss chard – much less made something tasty with it! I found this recipe a few years ago, when I had a bumper crop of swiss chard in the garden. It was so tasty that I decided to make it for Thanksgiving that year, and I’ve been making it ever since.

Once again, I made it this year, and it was a big hit – even with people who thought they didn’t like swiss chard! It’s versatile and goes with almost anything – and it freezes well, too!

Chard & leek gratin

Swiss Chard & Leek Gratin
Adapted from Food & Wine, Nov 2011
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 lb swiss chard
2 leeks
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp unsalted butter (can sub canola oil)
10 tsp all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cup skim milk
8 tsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
8 tsp shredded Gruyere cheese
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt & pepper, to taste

Directions
1. Pull leaves off chard stems. Discard stems. In a large pot of boiling water, blanch the chard leaves in batches until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain the chard, squeeze dry and chop it.

2. Heat the oil in the pot. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until tender, 7 minutes. Uncover, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the chard, season with salt and remove from the heat.

3. Preheat the oven to 425°. Butter a 6-by-8-inch baking dish. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour over moderate heat to form a paste. Gradually whisk in one-third of the milk and cook, whisking, until the mixture starts to thicken. Repeat two more times with the remaining milk. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking often, until thickened and no floury taste remains, 15 minutes. Whisk in the cheeses and the nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Mix the sauce into the leeks and chard. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 25 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown on top. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

**Note** The unbaked gratin can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Nutritional information per serving:
Calories: 125.3
Total Fat: 5.8 g
Cholesterol: 16.6 mg
Sodium: 242.3 mg
Total Carbs: 13.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
Protein: 6.1 g

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