If you’ve been following Crandlecakes for a while, you might have noticed my kale obsession, and you might have gotten tired of it, and then you might have stopped listening to me when I talk about kale. Well wake up. Because this is the most delicious holiday side dish I’ve ever tasted, and Shorty agrees.
I tried to keep it simple, and the recipe relies heavily on bleu cheese and caramelized onions for flavor, which keeps it from becoming another boring creamed spinach thing. I think it could definitely handle some bacon. I didn’t add bacon. I’m just throwing that out there…bacon…
Where were we? Oh yeah, another great plus about this side dish, is that it is easy to pull together, even if you forget to go Thanksgiving grocery shopping until Wednesday night. I don’t think Roquefort and kale usually sell out the way pecans and sweet potato and pumpkin purée and turkeys do. What I’m saying is that you can actually throw this together the night before the party and shame all the other side dishes at the family dinner. Procrastinators, unite!
I made these gratins in “individual” ramekins (ha! they were huge!), but you could easily make it in one large dish. Also, this is a fairly small recipe, but you could double, triple, or quadruple it without too much fuss.
Bleu Cheese Creamed Kale Gratins
1 bunch kale (about 10-15 large leaves), cooks down to scant 2 cups
1½ Tablespoons butter
1 small onion (¾ cup) sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1½ Tablespoons flour
¼ cup heavy cream
¾ cup whole milk (divided)
¼ cup bleu cheese, crumbled
2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese, fresh grated
¼ cup bread crumbs (see recipe below)
Oven 375 F
1. Blanch kale: Drop kale in boiling water for 2 minutes, then submerge in ice water. When cool, strain and lay flat to dry.
2. Meanwhile, heat butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet. Cook onions on low or medium-low until they begin to caramelize (approximately 10-15 minutes). Add garlic and cook another minute.
3. Add flour to onions and garlic and stir. After 30 seconds, add cream and ½ cup whole milk all at once. You want the mixture to thicken but not scorch. Add bleu cheese crumbles and stir.
4. Meanwhile, make sure kale is dry, and chop in small pieces. Add kale to sauce and stir to coat, adding additional ¼ cup milk as needed to loosen sauce.
5. Add kale mixture to baking dish(es), then top with bread crumbs and parmesan. Bake 5 minutes at 375, then reduce to 350 for 5-10 minutes. Remove when crumbs are brown and you can see the sauce bubbling on the side.
Allow to cool before serving.
Homemade Bread Crumbs
2 slices standard white bread
Drizzle of olive oil
Pinch of salt
Cut 2 slices white bread into cubes. Blitz in food processor until large crumbs (about the size of Panko bread crumbs) form. Lightly toss in olive oil and and pinch of salt. Toast in oven at 375 F for 10-15 minutes, turning once for even browning. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Set aside to cool before use.