Archive | March, 2010

Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Gratin

17 Mar

I have been getting beautiful, huge sweet potatoes from Swartz Farm in Amherst lately, and last week I added swiss chard to my produce order. I was figuring out what to do with them, and decided to make a gratin and found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen. With Mapleline Farm milk, this was an almost entirely local meal! This recipe was a great way to get some veggies. We ate it with bread the first night, with slices of baked ham the second night, and I just made a frittata with the last bit of it for breakfast this morning. The sweet potatoes are so sweet, and they are nicely balanced by the bitterness of the chard. I halved the recipe.

I usually just roast the sweet potatoes. I can cook up a bunch of them and then eat them throughout the week. I don’t have a microwave, and slices of them heat up beautifully on the stove. They get brown and sticky and caramelized, and so delicious!

Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Gratin – Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1/4 stick butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 pounds Swiss chard, leaves and stems separated and both cut into 1-inch pieces
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cups whole milk
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds – I used one very large sweet potato
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated cheese – I used a mixture of white sharp cheddar and Romano cheeses

Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a wide pan, over medium-low heat until softened but not brown.

Add chard stems, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender but not browned, Increase heat and add chard leaves, stirring, until all greens are wilted. (Deb at Smitten Kitchen says to drain the greens in a colander at this point, but I didn’t do that and it turned out fine.

Make sauce: Combine milk and garlic in small saucepan; bring to simmer; keep warm. Melt one tablespoons butter in a medium heavy saucepan over moderate heat and stir in flour to make a roux. Cook stirring one minute, then slowly whisk in warm milk and boil, whisking, one minute. Season sauce with salt and pepper. I cooked mine too long and it turned out really thick! I couldn’t pour it and just sort of plopped it on the layers. The gratin was still tasty, just not as creamy as Deb’s gratin.

Assembly: Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter deep 9×13 baking dish. Spread half of sweet potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a 1/2 of the cheese. Distribute half of the greens mixture over the cheese. Pour half of sauce over the first two layers then continue with the remaining sweet potatoes, more salt, pepper, herbs and cheese and then the remaining greens, salt, and pepper. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the gratin, pressing the vegetables slightly to ensure that they are as submerged as possible. Mine weren’t submerged at all!

Cover with foil and bake gratin for about 1 hour. The last 15 minutes I sprinkled some more cheese on the top.

Ready to go in the oven

You can see it’s not as creamy and wet as a gratin usually is.

Ready to eat!

It still baked up creamy and delicious.

Butternut and Purple Potato Gratin

15 Mar

I haven’t been cooking much since James went back to Baltimore in January! He is here for spring break though, so I have been cooking. I have a sweet potato and swiss chard gratin in the oven right now. I love gratins. They are such a great way to turn veggies into healthy comfort food, as long as I restrain my cheese-grating!

With James gone I have been eating a lot of sweet potatoes and scrambled eggs. Luckily I have local sources for both.

Diemand Farm eggs are widely available around here, even in regular grocery stores. They are so delicious! Their shells are thick and brown, and their yolks are such a beautiful golden color.

My new farm discovery is Swartz Farm in Amherst. It is right down the street from the Renaissance Center, which is so convenient for me. They have CSA shares, but you can also order whatever produce you want online, and pick it up on either Friday or Monday afternoon. Their food is wonderful! I made a potato, leek and carrot soup using their potatoes and carrots, which was so delicious!

This gratin is the last meal I made for James before he left. I got the purple potatoes and the butternut squash at the Enterprise Farm Food Shed. They were so pretty! I don’t remember where I got the recipe for this. I think I cobbled it together from a few I found online. It was good but ended up far too watery. Maybe I used too much milk? I put the leftovers in the freezer, and they re-heat well.

Beautiful!

Ready to eat.