This gratin tastes greater and more indulgent than the sum of its parts; it’s also very easy to throw together. It is one of the rare occasions I use double cream, but in this instance it is well worth it.
The flavours are firmly rooted in Italy, though I use Cheddar to top it as I like the sharpness it adds. We eat this with some steamed broccoli or greens on the side and nothing more. I have made this using a thin cashew cream for vegans.
– 250ml vegetable stock
– 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
– 3 bay leaves
– 250ml double cream
– 1 x 400g tin of green Puy lentils, drained (or 250g home-cooked)
– 400g chard (Swiss or rainbow)
– Butter or olive oil
– 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
– 1 whole nutmeg
– 50g mature Cheddar, grated (optional)
1. Put the stock into a saucepan with the tomatoes and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10–15 minutes until the mixture has reduced by about a third, then pour in the cream and the lentils and cover to keep warm.
2. Cut the chard stalks from their leaves and shred the leaves into 1cm-wide ribbons, then cut the stems into 2cm lengths, keeping them separate.
3. Heat a shallow ovenproof pan with a lid on a medium heat, add a knob of butter or drizzle of oil and add the garlic. Cook for a minute or two before adding the chard stalks, then cover and cook for 5 minutes until they have lost their rawness. Take the lid off and stir in the leaves, then take the pan off the heat.
4. Pour in the lentil mixture, add a good grating of nutmeg and use a spoon to turn everything over until it is well mixed. If you don’t have an ovenproof pan you could transfer the mixture to a gratin dish at this point.
5. Dot over the cheese, if you are using it, then bake in the hot oven for 25 minutes, until golden and bubbling.
An essential addition to every bookshelf, The Modern Cook’s Year by Anna Jones is bursting with over 250 vibrant vegetable recipes to see you through the seasons.
Her third book, Anna Jones believes in putting vegetables at the centre of her table and also in the unbridled joy of cooking and eating.