I’m obviously going through a gratin phase. For my full thoughts on the wonders of the gratin visit the Potato, Celeriac, Fennel and Leek Gratin recipe that I posted a while back. I am excited about his particular gratin because it uses swiss chard stems. Swiss Chard is my favourite food. I eat swiss chard every week. I often eat Swiss Chard every day. I posted my usual braised Swiss Chard recipe in the post titled 4 Reasons to Make Homemade Mayonnaise (I like to make swiss chard with poached eggs and homemade mayo). In the spring and summer when chard stems are thin and tender I include them in my braised swiss chard. In the winter however, chard stems get very thick and a bit stringy, like celery. They are still delicious but they overpower the leaves in the braised swiss chard, so I cut the stems out and reserve them for another use.
I recently made a swiss chard gratin (yet another excellent recipe from Chez Panisse Vegetable!!!!!!) and I was very, very happy with it. I used to make delicious phyllo triangles with filled with sautéed swiss chard stems, mushrooms, and feta cheese. Those are VERY good, but I have not sorted out a good gluten-free recipe for them, so I haven’t had the pleasure of making them in a while. I will include both recipes. I also sometimes use chard stems in place of greens in my recipe for easy pasta with greens, goat cheese and oregano and it is delicious!
SWISS CHARD STEM GRATIN
I made this a few weeks ago to go with duck confit. It was also good all by itself. I think that I may include sauteed mushrooms the next time I make it.
- stems from 3 or 4 bunches of swiss chard (remove and discard any tough strings and then slice)
- 2 and 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I use bob’s red mill gluten-free flour mix)
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 pound pancetta, fried until crispy and drained (optional)
- a handful of chopped italian parsley
- two tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- two or three cloves of garlic, minced
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the chard stems and par-boil for a few minutes, until the stems are tender. Drain.
- Meanwhile, Heat the milk in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan. When it’s just about to boil, turn the heat off.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in another sauce pan over medium heat. When the butter is melted add the flour and stir until smooth. Cook until the mixture turns a light golden colour (5-7 minutes).
- Slowly add the heated milk to the roux whisking as you go to prevent lumps (it helps to have a friend to pour for you.)
- Bring to a boil and cook, whisking constantly for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is a thick bechamel.
- Spread the chard stems in the bottom of a gratin or shallow casserole dish. Sprinkle the chopped parsley, minced garlic, chopped tomato and fried pancetta on top of the stems. Pour the bechamel over everything and smooth with a spatula.
- Bake until the gratin is golden brown on top!
PHYLLO TRIANGLES WITH CHARD AND FETA FILLING
This is an adaptable recipe so I will just include suggestions and no quantities. I learned how to handle the phyllo from The Silver Palate Cookbook.
- stems from 3 or 4 bunches of swiss chard (remove and discard any tough strings and slice)
- Olive oil
- Any or all of the following- sautéed mushrooms, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, minced sautéed garlic, dill, mint, thyme, oregano, basil.
- Feta cheese, drained and crumbled
- Frozen (or fresh if you can find it!) phyllo dough
- Lots of butter
Note- One frozen package of phyllo dough will make about 60 triangles. For that many triangles you will need about a half pound of butter. If you want to save some phyllo for later instead of using it all store it in a sealed container in the fridge. It will keep for about a month.
- Let your phyllo dough defrost in the fridge for a couple of days before opening the package.
- Sautee the stems in olive oil until tender.
- Add other sautéed ingredients, herbs and cheese.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt the butter.
- Unwrap one layer of phyllo dough (cover the rest with a damp towel).
- Brush the phyllo generously with butter.
- Stack a second sheet of phyllo on top of the first layer and butter it again (cover the rest with a damp towel).
- Cut the buttered phyllo into fifths the short way with a sharp knife.
- Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of the first strip about an inch from the top. Fold a corner across the filling and continue to fold like a flag until it is a wrapped triangle. Don’t do it too tight (the dough needs room to expand a bit).
- Place the triangle on a buttered baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough until you have used all of your filling.
- Brush all of the triangles with melted butter and bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
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