Creamed kale plus a crispy gratin topping – Creamed Kale Gratin is a fun indulgent way to eat kale!
Day two of Thanksgiving Week – woot woot! Thanksgiving is just NINE days away (how?!) and I hope you’re getting your menu set or figuring out what you’re bringing to your inlaws.
But you have to admit, it IS exciting. I love the holiday season and to be honest, the countdown to Thanksgiving is really just the countdown to when I can start playing Christmas music. I have a strict no-Christmas-music-before-Thanksgiving rule.
Creamed Kale Gratin
While the holidays are exciting, I’m not sure anyone has really been excited about creamed spinach (anyone? anyone?). However, I think this Creamed Kale Gratin is definitely something worth saving room for on your plate.
To be fair, I don’t think I’ve ever even had creamed spinach. But I guess that makes my point. It’s not a popular side dish. Unlike spinach, kale does a really good job at not completely wilting when it’s cooked. As a result, the creamed kale isn’t a mixture of limpy greens.
If you’re looking for something you can make mostly ahead of time, this Creamed Kale Gratin is it! You can make the creamed kale mixture, along with the buttery bread crumb topping the day before Thanksgiving. Then on the day of, just pop it in the oven and bake until the cream mixture is all nice and bubbly and the breadcrumb topping is golden brown.
When I was testing these recipes, this dish was definitely one that people were surprised at how delicious it was. I think the secret is in the pancetta. I fried up some delicious salty pancetta in the cream sauce, and it added a hint of smokiness which I absolutely loved. Oh and that crispy breadcrumb topping doesn’t hurt, either.
Between the pancetta and the breadcrumb topping, you’ll have all the kale haters going back for seconds!
Looking for other Thanksgiving recipes? Check these out!
Crunchy Honey Butternut Squash Casserole
- 8 cups chopped kale I used curly kale but you could use lacinto kale too
- 4 ounces diced pancetta
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
For the topping:
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bring a medium pot of water to boiling.
- Add kale and cook for 1 minute.
- Drain and rinse with cold water.
- In a medium skillet, add pancetta, cooking over medium-high heat until crispy, about 5-7 minutes.
- Remove pancetta but leave the grease it released. If it didn't release much grease, add about 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Cook onion in pancetta/butter until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook another minute.
- Add flour, nutmeg, and salt and stir well to combine. Cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly, without letting it brown.
- Very slowly, add in the milk, whisking constantly.
- Bring to a simmer and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until it has thickened.
- Add cheese and crispy pancetta to cream mixture, stirring to combine.
- Add kale to greased 8x8" casserole dish.
- Pour creamy mixture over kale.
- To make the crispy topping, combine melted butter, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl until combined.
- Evenly distribute topping over creamy kale mixture.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until the gratin is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.
- Serve and enjoy!
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