Kale-­Leek Gratin With Gruyère

It seems like just yesterday I was figuring out how to create a Halloween costume out of items already hanging in my closet (or maybe with a little duct tape), and now, I’m solidifying Thanksgiving plans. And what plans they are! I’m hosting a really large group for the first time ever — all the family, lots of friends, a few neighbors. It’s going to be a seriously full house, and I can’t wait.

The funny thing is, I actually suspect that this will take a bit of pressure off of me compared to past years. See, when it’s a smaller group, I try cook a lot of the side dishes myself (although Jared always handles the turkey!). However, with so many people planning to join us, I know there’s no way I can handle it, so I’ve got guests signing up to bring various dishes. I’ll still make a few favorites, but allowing everyone to chip in makes this seem strangely easy. (For now, anyway — talk to me on November 25 and see if I still feel that way!)

Need Help? Here’s an Idea …

Now, if you have a group coming but don’t trust them to handle cooking — and with some groups, I totally understand that sentiment! — but you don’t want to do everything from scratch, there are options. You can buy certain items pre-made, or course, or you can take a page out of my book and make a few dishes the day before so they only need a quick reheat.

Or, you can look into one of the meal delivery options out there and see what they offer for Thanksgiving. Sun Basket (which my neighbors have and love — a lot) is offering a “Thanksgiving Sides” option this November. It’s portioned to feed eight, and existing Sun Basket customers can choose 1, 2 or 3 sides: Kale-­leek gratin with Gruyère, Roasted Brussels sprouts and delicata squash with currants and fried shallots, or Williams-­Sonoma Apple sourdough stuffing with sausage.

Not a customer, but interest picqued? You might also want to know that Sun Basket is going to offer something special in December, too: a Holiday Party Box (which can be in place of or in addition to the regular order). Again, this is just for Sun Basket customers, but hey — if this sort of thing appeals to you, maybe it’s something you want to check out!

At the very least, I have a feeling y’all are going to want to check out this Kale and Leek Gratin recipe. Gobble gobble get in my belly!

Kale-Leek Gratin

Kale-­Leek Gratin With Gruyère

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 8

The secret to this crowd-pleasing gratin is its easy, classic cheese sauce. Known as sauce Mornay to generations of French chefs, it’s the same base used to make traditional mac n’ cheese, thickened with a roux (pronounced “roo”), a mix of butter and flour. The leeks and kale can be cooked the night before, covered, and refrigerated overnight; bring to room temperature while you make the cheese sauce.
Ingredients
  • 1¼ pounds leeks
  • 1 pound kale
  • Peeled fresh garlic
  • 5 ounces Gruyère
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon Urfa biber chile flakes, optional
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. You will need: Strainer, box grater, whisk, large bowl, large frying pan, small sauce pot, medium baking dish
  2. Heat the oven to 450ºF.
  3. Trim the root ends from the leeks; cut the leeks in half lengthwise, then crosswise into ½-inch-thick half-moons.
  4. Soak the leeks in a bowl of cold water, allowing any dirt to settle at the bottom.
  5. Skim the leeks from the surface of the water and pat dry.
  6. Strip the kale leaves from their stems; coarsely chop the leaves.
  7. In a large pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons oil until hot but not smoking.
  8. Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
  9. Add the kale and 2 tablespoons water, season with salt and pepper, and cook until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.
  10. Transfer the leeks and kale to a large bowl.
  11. While the leeks and kale cook, start the cheese sauce.
  12. Finely chop enough garlic to measure 1 tablespoon.
  13. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the Gruyère cheese.
  14. Strip the parsley leaves from their stems; coarsely chop the leaves.
  15. In a small pot over medium heat, melt the butter until foamy. Whisk in the flour, garlic, nutmeg, and as much Urfa biber as you like.
  16. Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes.
  17. Slowly whisk in the milk. Bring to a vigorous simmer over medium-high heat, whisking, just until the milk thickens.
  18. Immediately remove from the heat.
  19. Add the grated Gruyère and half the parsley, whisking to melt the cheese.
  20. Pour the cheese sauce over the leeks and kale and stir to coat.
  21. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.
  22. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and spread in an even layer.
  23. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and Parmesan.
  24. Bake until lightly browned and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.
  25. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
  26. Sprinkle the gratin with the remaining parsley and serve warm, straight from the gratin dish or spooned onto individual plates.

Do you have a non-traditional dish you love to eat on Thanksgiving? I can’t wait to eat some jalapeno corn pudding! Kristen

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