Hello, Delicious! Swiss Chard, Tomato & Bread Gratin

Sometimes I get the feeling that food fate exists, as if there are just things we are destined to eat. Upon my first bite of this dish, I am even more confident in that belief. Why, you ask? Let me tell you a little story. I am a hoarder of recipes, a collector of torn pages from numerous food-related magazines which are then lovingly organized in one of ten different folders I keep by my couch. I like to go through them often, adding new recipes, reorganizing, maybe pulling out one or two to actually make over the weekend. It’s a sickness, I know. I grapple with that daily. And yet, I can’t stop.

Recently, in an effort to un-hoard, I have been trying to either throw out recipes I know (deep in my heart) that I will never make. Or, better yet, trying to resist tearing them out in the first place if I feel even the slightest bit “meh” about them.

And so as delicious as this Tomato and Swiss Chard Gratin sounded, I was hesitant. With all the wonderful carb-loaded things I eventually want to make, would this actually ever be at the top of the list? Will I pass this recipe by to try out yet another macaroni and cheese instead? Would I ever feel the need to buy a bunch of fairly expensive things: plump beefsteak tomatoes, five pounds of Swiss chard and a nice Gruyère cheese just to bake a fancy casserole? Its chances were not looking good.

Three different times, I almost threw the magazine out with that page still inside. But finally about three weeks ago, in a fit of optimism, I yanked it out. Instantly I was annoyed with myself for adding another stack of paper to the already massive pile of recipes waiting to be filed away in their respective folders.

(Oh god, I’m practically begging someone to plan an intervention for me.)

Anyways here’s the shocking news: within two weeks, I had made it! And in not-so-shocking news, it was freakin’ amazing. Like, so unbelievably good. Yes, this is the dish I referenced in my Cider Press post, the dish that was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. The bread became almost like custard, the chard and onions added depth, the tomatoes kept it moist and the cheese was (of course) sublime.

I am already dying to make it again. In fact, I’m dreaming about this instead of stuffing to go with my turkey at Thanksgiving…or maybe with leftover turkey layered inside? The possibilities are endless.

Here’s some in-the-making pictures to hopefully make your mouth water…

First layer of bread and tomatoes

last layer of Swiss chard and onion

final layer of bread, which gets brushed with melted butter

After everything is loaded up and the hot chicken stock is poured over it, it just needs to bake for about an hour. And the whole time it’s cooking, it will smell fantastic. Then when you peeled back the foil, you will most likely be overwhelmed with excitement because it will look like this:

Buttery bread and deliciousness

Oh my god, delicious!

Right? Tell me that doesn’t look incredible! Tell me that you are gathering yourself up for a trip to the store for five pounds of Swiss chard so you can make this immediately!

Oh, but before you leave, I’ll let you in on a few things I different. Manchego worked fantastically well in this dish, it’s a firm nutty cheese and I love it even more than Gruyère so I gave it a whirl. This was my only real substitution in this recipe. I guess you could say something about my tomatoes too — they were plum tomatoes grown by my friend DB. They weren’t as juicy as a beefsteak would be but they were so perfectly ripe that their intense tomato flavor carried through everything else.

And, a bonus tidbit! I did all the prep and layered everything together (stopping before adding the chicken stock) and let it sit overnight in the fridge. The next day I let it temper for about an hour, heated the stock and popped it in the oven. This way the timeline seemed briefer — not that it takes forever, but considering I was doing party planning too it was nice to have one less thing to worry about.

So there you have it, folks. Photographic proof that sometimes the recipe that’s been haunting you just needs to be made! Who knows what greatness you could be missing out on?

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8 thoughts on “Hello, Delicious! Swiss Chard, Tomato & Bread Gratin

  1. Wow, that seriously looks amazing! I LOVE bread puddings, and a savory bread pudding…well, that just opens up so many possibilities 🙂 I have some swiss chard growing in the garden, but maybe not enough for this recipe.

    I am a hoarder of recipes too, but I keep them online in my reading list…every week I go through them to see what inspiration will strike me. So glad you kept this recipe!!

    • I love bread puddings too — especially savory ones. But I rarely make them because I tend to use a lot of cream & eggs when I do. Since this just uses stock as a liquid, it’s a nice light alternative. And you know, I read a couple of reviews that used frozen spinach instead of/with chard so I might try that next time.

      Keeping the recipes online would definitely help my clutter problem! I try to do that with Pinterest, but I just love the ritual of digging through mounds of papers. It’s my favorite thing to do on a lazy Saturday. (Now I sound like I need a life as well as an intervention!) =)

  2. Well, at least you’re sensible enough to just hoard the magazine tear-outs. I do that and hoard whole cookbooks too and thus fear a visit from the folks at A&E! Your panade looks delicious.

    • Thank you! And my husband (who is a chef) is the certified cookbook hoarder of our household. It’s gotten so bad he has Amazon ship to the restaurant just to avoid my dirty looks! I’ve tried to instill a “you have to make me a recipe out of every new book you buy” rule, but it rarely happens…Oh well. I have to admit I like them too. =)

  3. ummm YES! oh i’m so envious of those beautiful tomatoes. this sounds and looks soooo delicious! i never make casserole-style things that cook all in one pan in the oven… i should! comforting, delicious and easy 🙂

    • Thanks! I already had a friend make it over the weekend and she loved it too. You totally should give it a shot — think of it as creating less dishes! I am a fan of casseroles for that very reason. =) Well, that and the fact that they’re usually covered in cheese! Yum!

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