Braised Kale Gratin

Background

Kale seems to intimidate people. Maybe it’s the large dark green leaves and the tough stalks that spill over the grocery bins. Whatever the reason, it’s a shame. Leafy kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables around and extremely versatile.

This recipe takes a detour from the classic gratin: Brown rice replaces potatoes, and the earthiness of the kale creates a healthy, hearty side dish. You can use any variety in this dish, but our favorite is the dinosaur variety for its full flavor.

Kale Gratin background

Cooking and Serving Tips

Timing is very important for this gratin, particularly when blanching your kale, cooking your rice, and composing your cheese sauce.

Over-blanching kale will usually leave it soft and slimy, stripping extra nutrients from the greens along the way. Two minutes in boiling water is all you need. This will help create a nice even surface to the gratin once composed.

Depending on which rice you’re using, time will vary. While this dish is delicious with any rice, we recommend short grain brown rice for those built-in nutrients and stronger texture. The insoluble fiber layer has not been stripped from this rice, which ultimately helps creates a harmonious texture with the blanched kale.

Lastly, make sure that your pan is at just the right heat when making your cheese sauce. The last thing you want to do is burn your milk or cook the egg on impact. Keeping your pan temperature around medium-low before adding in the milk should prevent this. We’d even recommend taking your pot off heat completely before adding the egg to ensure it doesn’t scramble once it hits the mixture.

Serve & Store

The gratin will keep, covered, for up to 5 days in the refrigerator and in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat, covered, in a 350˚F oven for 30 to 40 minutes.

Braised Kale Gratin going into oven

Recipe

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter an 8-inch baking dish.

Cook the rice according to package instructions and set aside.

Wash the kale, strip the leaves from the stems, and cut the leaves into 1 inch strips. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the kale for 2 minutes. Drain the kale and rinse to cool, squeezing out any excess water. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 minutes until it begins to brown. Add the chicken stock and boil for 3 minutes until the liquid is reduced to less than 1/4 cup. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the milk along with the salt, pepper, nutmeg, rice, and kale. Remove from the heat and stir in the egg, yolk, and 1-1/2 cups of the cheese (leaving 1/4 cup for the next step), mixing thoroughly.

Spread the mixture in the baking dish and top with the reserved 1/4 cup cheese and the bread crumbs. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the gratin is golden brown on top and bubbling around the edges.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves:

4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup short grain brown rice
  • 2 bunches dinosaur kale (about 10 leaves per bunch)
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 7 ounces Beecher’s Flagship cheese, shredded (1-3/4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs

Featured Beecher's Ingredient

Flagship Cheese

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Beecher's Food Used

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Flagship Cheese

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