Spinach and Leek Gratin

While I’m settling into my new apartment, I will be posting some recipes I made while I was still at home living with my parents. (Also known as the time when I cooked for more than one, and could afford fancy ingredients!)

This Spinach and Leek Gratin is a dish I actually made for Thanksgiving but would be a great side dish for any meal. The original recipe calls for Swiss chard but any hearty green would work. From the ingredients you can tell it’s rich, so a little goes a long way.

Spinach and Leek Gratin 

Ingredients

3 lbs of spinach or other hearty greens
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, sliced ¼ inch thick
Salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour (gluten free or regular)
2 cups whole milk
½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper

Preparation Instructions

In a large pot of boiling water, blanch the spinach in batches until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain the spinach, squeeze dry and chop it.

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Heat the oil in the pot. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until tender, 7 minutes. Uncover, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the spinach, season with salt and remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Butter a 10-by-15-inch baking dish. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour over moderate heat to form a paste. Gradually whisk in one-third of the milk and cook, whisking, until the mixture starts to thicken. Repeat two more times with the remaining milk. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking often, until thickened and no floury taste remains, 15 minutes. Whisk in the cheeses and the nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Mix the sauce into the spinach and chard. Season with salt and pepper.

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Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 25 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown on top. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
MAKE AHEAD The unbaked gratin can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.

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