Wild Rice Gratin with Kale, Caramelized Onions, and Baby Swiss

After a botched attempt to find kale at the market – well, it wasn’t botched, it was just badly timed; the woman standing three customers in front of us bought out all of the remaining kale from the only stall that had any to begin with – I vowed to start earlier the next week. So we did. We went earlier in the day and we went a whole day earlier. And we were rewarded: there was plenty of kale around. This time I bought it on a stalk, which I’d never seen before. And because I learned from my mistakes, I bought two stalks.

It was a lot of kale.


So with no further ado I started preparing the kale. It took forever, but the results were totally worth it. I made two recipes from Smitten Kitchen; even though Deb swears she doesn’t like kale, her kale recipes are delicious!

This one gets bonus points because it was totally a pantry item. We didn’t have breadcrumbs, but we did have the end of a loaf of French bread which we threw in the food processor for home-made breadcrumbs.

This recipe was hearty, flavorful, chewy and good. Tasted good. Tasted good for you. Felt good to eat. And it was a hit with the friends we shared it with.

Wild Rice Gratin with Kale, Caramelized Onions, and Baby Swiss

From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Yield: 10 to 12 as a side dish


Wild Rice

5 cups cooked wild rice (from 1 2/3 cups, 10.5 ounces, or 300 grams uncooked)

Caramelized Onions

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon table salt

freshly ground black pepper

4 cups stemmed, ribboned kale leaves (from an 8-ounce or 225 gram bundle)


2 cups (8 ounces or 225 grams) coarsely grated Emmentaler or another Swiss cheese

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 tablespoon to grease dish; 1 tablespoon, melted, for crumbs)

3/4 cup (180 ml) fine, dry breadcrumbs

table salt

freshly ground black pepper



Cook the rice according to package directions. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, caramelize the onions. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, sprinkle with salt and a little pepper, and cook until they’re tender and sweet, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Add the kale ribbons, and cook until they wilt a bit, about 5 minutes. Stir together the onion-kale mixture, wild rice, and 1 cup grated cheese in a large bowl. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

Assemble the gratin. Use 1 tablespoon butter to generously coat a 2-quart baking dish. Spread the wild-rice mixture into prepared gratin and pour broth over it. Sprinkle remaining cheese over gratin. Toss breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon melted butter and salt and pepper to taste; sprinkle over cheese.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a little bubbly and beginning to brown on top.


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