i've been thinking about perpetuity and continuity. you always have to strive to live healthier, be happier, work harder. it's hard because there's no one and done's; no peace out, i'm finished. unless you're retired and don't have to deal with the workforce ever again and spend your days cool as a cucumber, golfing and playing ukelele and nurturing your e-bay selling habit (hi, dad). and it's annoying in some instances, but also great for second chances. haven't worked out in a month? it's okay, walk instead of drive when you go out for ice cream. eat too many cookies today? you can scoop yourself a serving of swiss chard and sweet potato gratin tomorrow. which makes it sound like i'm only into this for the health benefits, when really this gratin is just the free vegetable hug (sometimes there are people who have signs and offer free hugs on campus though they do not offer free vegetables, unfortunately) you need.
if you have wilty greens waiting to be used and you don't like the taste of them (ie beet greens like the ones photographed here), this is the perfect destination. you don't get that spinach-y, iron-y aftertaste, and they get suitably buried under the creamy sweet potatoes and melty, golden cheese. this swiss chard and sweet potato gratin is super comforting and cozy, no matter if you're in blizzard town or in the midst of finals.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ large onion finely chopped
- 1 ½ pounds Swiss chard leaves and stems separated and both cut into 1" pieces
- pinch of grated nutmeg
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 4 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cut into ⅛” thick rounds and tossed with ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- ½ cup coarsely grated cheese ie Gruyére, mozzarella, parmesan, etc
Cook onion in 1 tablespoon butter in a pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add chard stems and nutmeg; cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Increase the heat and add the leaves in large handfuls, stirring, until all of the greens are wilted. Season with salt. Transfer the greens to a colander and press out liquid.
Simmer milk and garlic in small saucepan; keep warm. Melt 1 tablespoon butter over moderate heat and stir in flour. Cook, whisking, for 1 minute, then slowly whisk in milk and boil, whisking, 1 minute. Season with salt.
Spread half of potatoes in a greased 8x8" baking dish. Sprinkle with some of the herbs and cheese. Distribute half of greens over cheese, then more herbs and cheese over it. Pour half of sauce over then continue with remaining sweet potatoes, herbs, cheese and then greens and herbs. Pour remaining sauce over, pressing vegetables slightly to submerge. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake at 400F for 1 hour until golden and bubbly, and most of the liquid is absorbed. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
From Smitten Kitchen.
You can sub in 1 teaspoon dried thyme in place of the fresh thyme. You can sub in other cheeses, but pick something flavorful.