Chard & Potato Gratin (aka fancy scalloped potatoes) is an elegant side dish perfect to accompany grilled meats or on its own with a poached egg. Layers of thinly sliced potato are topped with sauteed chard, bacon and a light cream sauce. Unlike other versions of gratin, which call for full fat cream and lots of cheese, I just used milk, stock and a bit of parmesan cheese. My version of Chard and Potato Gratin is healthier and lighter, but still packed with flavour. A large bunch of chard fresh from the garden or market is essential! So if you’re like me, and can’t resist picking-up a large bunch of colourful chard at the farmer’s market each week, this Chard & Potato Gratin is for you.
I love the sound of gratin. French vocabulary always makes things seem fancier than they are. Gratin refers to a cooking technique where the top of a dish is browned using breadcrumbs or cheese (mainly). When referring to potato gratin, the results are strikingly similar to North American scalloped potatoes. The main differences being the type of cheese and whether a milk or cream-based sauce is used, with gratin usually favouring cream.
I guess my Chard & Potato Gratin is really a combination of gratin and scalloped potatoes. The sauce is made using a milk and stock base, thickened with butter, flour and a bit of parmesan cheese. It’s definitely lighter than a cream sauce, but has a rich flavour from the addition of chicken stock and parmesan cheese. With the earthiness of chard and potato, plus the smokiness of bacon, it’s a complex dish (yet simple to make) worthy of the gratin title.
To turn Chard & Potato Gratin into a meal I added a perfectly poached egg on top of each serving. The rich, runny egg yoke complimented the crispy top of the gratin nicely. After a lot of trial and error poaching eggs over the years, I recommend the vortex poaching method shown in this Jamie Oliver video. As long as your eggs are fresh, they turn out quite nicely. However, I’d also be interested to add the fine mesh strainer method mentioned on Bon Appetit. With the combination of potato, bacon, and eggs, there’s no reason not to serve Chard & Potato Gratin for brunch either.
Although I really enjoyed the gratin with a poached egg, it would also pair nicely with a grilled steak or roast. I served the gratin with a bit of garlic scape pesto, but wasn’t happy with how it plated so didn’t include it in the photos. Scape pesto is a nice addition, but not critical to the overall dish.
I can’t wait to make Chard & Potato Gratin again, but need to hold off for a cooler day to heat up the oven (it’s quite the opposite from my last barbecue-based meal). Despite quite a lengthy amount of preparation, the flavours are worth the effort. Chard & Potato Gratin can be prepared and assembled up to a day ahead, or frozen, completing the baking when you’re ready to serve it.
Hope you enjoy! Once again thanks for following along. It means so much as I try to get this food blog thing going. I’d love to see pictures if you try any of my recipes. Tag pics with #eatsandadventures so I can see. Can’t wait to see what you’re making!
Chard & Potato Gratin
- 6 medium Russet potatotes
- 1 bunch swiss chard
- 3 slices smoked bacon
- 1/2 medium onion thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 5-6 sage leaves thinly sliced
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese grated
- fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Fill a large bowl with cool water. Peal and thinly slice potatoes to about 1/8" thick. Use a mandolin if you have one to make even slices. Place potato slices in the bowl, making sure they're covered with water.
- Chop bacon into lardons about 1/4" thick. Fry in a large pan until just cooked through. Remove to a bowl lined with paper towel.
- Wash chard well. Remove stems and dice into small pieces. Cut the leaves in half and slice into 1" pieces.
- Reheat the same frying pan the bacon was in, adding a bit of oil if necessary. Fry the onion and chard stems until onion is starting to turn golden and stems are softening. Add the greens to the pan and stir everything together. Place a lid over the pan and turn heat down. Once chard is mostly wilted, but still bright green, turn off the heat.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and sage leaves, frying until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add the flour and stir well so that no lumps remain. Turn heat to medium-low and slowly add the milk, whisking to remove any lumps as you go. Add the stock as well.
- Allow the sauce to cook, stirring frequently, until starting to thicken (around 10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the grated parmesan.
Assembly & Cooking
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Liberally grease a large casserole dish, or two small dishes, with butter. Arrange the first layer of potato slices at the bottom of the dish. You should use about 1/3 of the total amount of sliced potatoes - some slices will overlap. Arrange 1/2 of the chard mixture and bacon over top. Pour 1/3 of the sauce over everything. Add another potato layer topped with the rest of the chard and bacon, and cover with sauce. Finally add the last layer of potatoes and pour the rest of the sauce over, topping with fresh cracked pepper if desired.
- Loosely cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil. Bake covered in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese over top. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes, turning to convection bake if possible. The gratin is done when the top is browned, the sauce is bubbling vigorously, and the potatoes can easily be pierced with a knife.
- Allow gratin to set at least 10 minutes before serving.