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Cheers for chard! The beautiful, funny-sounding veggie is packed with nutrition

By the Editors of Relish Magazine
Cheers for chard! The beautiful, funny-sounding veggie is packed with nutrition
(Photo: Photo: Relish Magazine)

Terrific in frittatas, soups and gratins, cooked Swiss chard is milder than spinach. You’ll recognize it by its showy good looks: Stem color ranges from white to orange to scarlet; the multicolored bunches marketed as “rainbow chard” are almost too pretty to cook.

Chard is a nutritional powerhouse. If vegetables got grades for nutrients, Swiss chard would be a valedictorian. It has impressive concentrations of vitamins A, C, E and K, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus and zinc — the list goes on and on.

Here it’s cooked with Yukon gold potatoes into fresh-tasting casserole. Topped with cheesy breadcrumbs, the gratin makes a perfect, healthful side dish.

Chard and Potato Gratin

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 pound Swiss chard, ends trimmed, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 3 T butter
  • 1 medium onion, vertically sliced into thin strips (1 cup)
  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • 1 (14-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ¹⁄³ cups whole milk
  • ¼ t ground nutmeg
  • ¾ t salt
  • ¹⁄8 t freshly ground black pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • ¼cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs

Rinse chard and place in large pot with water clinging to leaves. Add 1 cup water, cover and cook over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well.

Place potatoes in another large pot and cover with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently until just tender, about 6 minutes. Drain.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour and whisk to combine. Add broth, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Preheat oven to 400F. Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking pan or shallow 2 ½-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Arrange half the potatoes in pan. Top with chard and half the sauce. Cover with remaining potatoes and sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.