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Creamy Parmesan Swiss Chard Gratin

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Serves four to six as a side dish.

I like the variety of Swiss chard called "Bright Lights," which has yellow and pink stalks, but any Swiss chard will work fine. The chard leaves just need wilting for this gratin, but be sure to sauté the stems until lightly browned; this softens their flavor.

  • 1/2 cup toasted or stale coarse breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter; more for coating the gratin pan
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 strips bacon (about 2-1/2 oz.)
  • 1 lb. (about 1 bunch) Swiss chard, washed and drained, stems removed and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices, leaves cut into 1/2-inch wide ribbons (to yield about 2-3/4 cups stems and 7 to 8 cups leaves)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Heat the oven to 400ºF. Butter a shallow 5- or 6-cup ceramic gratin dish. Melt 1 Tbs. of the butter and toss it with the breadcrumbs; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and garlic to a boil (watch that it doesn't boil over), immediately lower the heat, and simmer vigorously for 5 minutes; the cream should be reduced to about 3/4 cup. Take the pan off the heat and remove the garlic cloves with a slotted spoon. Let the cream cool slightly, stirring occasionally to loosen. Season it with a few grinds of fresh pepper and 1/4 tsp. of the salt.

Meanwhile, in a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp and browned. With tongs, transfer it to paper towels; crumble when cool. Leave the bacon fat in pan (if there's more than 2 Tbs., drain a little off). Add the remaining 1 Tbs. butter to the skillet and let it melt. Add the chard stems and sauté them over medium to medium-high heat until they're somewhat softened and browned on the edges, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the chard leaves and toss them with the contents of the skillet. Season them with the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. (You can add the leaves in two batches for easier handling.) Sauté until all the leaves are wilted, about 2 minutes. Use tongs to transfer the contents of the pan to the gratin dish (leave behind any excess liquid in the sauté pan), spreading them evenly.

Creamy Parmesan Swiss Chard Gratin Recipe
Sauté sliced chard stems first until tender; then add the leaves and wilt them.

Sprinkle the crumbled bacon and then the cheese over the chard. Pour the seasoned cream over all and top with the buttered breadcrumbs. Bake for 25 minutes; the gratin will be brown and bubbly. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings; Calories (kcal): 310; Fat (g): 28; Fat Calories (kcal): 250; Saturated Fat (g): 15; Protein (g): 7; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9; Carbohydrates (g): 11; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 600; Cholesterol (mg): 75; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Steve Hunter

Fantastic and simple... I made mine with 2 slices of salt pork instead of bacon, added about a 1/4 of an onion diced to the pan once the pork was hot and then proceeded to cook the stems and leaves with the pork. I also made a roux using about 1/4 cup of flour-- whisked some of the hot cream in the flour and then added the flour mixture to the rest of the cream. I did this because I thought the gratin would be too watery without some kind of binder. I finished the dish with some grated Gruyere, Parmesan and Monterey Jack cheeses before adding the breadcrumbs (and did not include the salt pork or bacon). It was perfect!

Christmas day side item = delicious! Will definitely make it an annual dish.

Delish. Rich, but really good. Careful with the salt. Ours was teetering on the edge of too salty. I'll use less next time.

Holy Moley this is a great recipe!! Enjoyed by all - kids included!!

This recipe is excellent !!! You use every bit of the Swiss Chard, if you have never tried Swiss Chard you just might start liking it after trying this recipe. I have been making and giving people this recipe for years (jan-2001)

This dish is super yummy. Everybody who I have served this to (and there have been many)have loved it and begged for the recipe. The cream and parmesan balance well with the slightly bitter tang of the chard. even people who don't like chard will enjoy this...really.

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