February 8, 2015 – Wild Rice Gratin with Kale, Caramelized Onions, and Baby Swiss

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On Sunday night, we tried a new recipe: The Smitten Kitchen’s Wild Rice Gratin with Kale, Caramelized Onions, and Baby Swiss. While it took a bit of time to make (which was partly due to how Tony staged the steps), it was incredibly easy and absolutely worth the effort. Tony describes how it made it.

Kim was nice enough to do the prep work for me while I went out to confer on our weekly wine selections with Wines by the Flask. She sliced the sweet onions, cut the kale into ribbons, and grated the Swiss (we used Emmentaler). She even measured out the butter and breadcrumbs.

I was using two different kinds of rice for the recipe and while they took the same amount of time to cook (about 30 minutes on the stove top followed by a 10 minute rest) I decided I would cook them separately, just to be sure they both came out right. While I could have also started caramelizing the onions at this point, I decided to wait as I just didn’t feel like having three pots going not he oven at once. I started pretty early in the evening, so time wasn’t a big concern, plus I guessed (correctly) that if I put the cooked rice in a bowl and covered it with plastic wrap, it would keep warm enough that it would still be easy to work with when the time came.

Caramelizing the onions was easy, but took a little bit longer than I anticipated: about 45 minutes, rather than the 30 in the recipe. Again, time wasn’t a big issue, so I was OK. Wilting the kale was also easy and only took about five minutes.

From here, it was pretty easy to wrap things up. I mixed the onions and kale with the rice and half the cheese and poured the mixture into a buttered casserole dish. I sprinkled the remaining cheese on top and covered that with the breadcrumbs, which I had mixed with a tablespoon of melted butter. The dish went into ta 375 degree oven and after 30 minutes, dinner was served.

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First things first – this recipe is a winner. It was not hard to make and was richly flavorful and truly comforting. The sweetness of the onions came through, but was balanced by the bitterness of the kale. The creaminess of the cheese was complemented by the crunch of the breadcrumb topping. We’re leaning toward a traditional Thanksgiving this year (yes, we really think that far ahead when it comes to food!) as a counterpoint to last year’s Frenchgiving, and this dish is going to make an appearance!

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