A New Twist on a Steakhouse Favorite: Creamed Chard with Buttery Breadcrumbs

Creamed Chard with Buttery Breadcrumbs. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend
Creamed Chard with Buttery Breadcrumbs. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend

In my opinion, a big juicy steak is always best—particularly at any great, old-school steakhouse—with a side of buttery-rich creamed spinach. Now, as anyone who likes creamed spinach can attest, all creamed spinaches are not created alike. It’s not that hard to find versions that are drowned in cream, overcooked to the point of being mush, or greasy pools of flavorless glop.

Now let me paint a different picture. Here’s my ultimate version: tender with a bit of a bite; cloaked in flavorful, cheese-spiked sauce that isn’t gloppy; and topped with crunchy, buttery breadcrumbs. Also, I like spinach, but I LOVE chard. It’s like the perfect green because it retains its texture but is still tender and flavorful. Plus, if you use red chard, it makes this whole dish more colorful. So I swapped it out for this dish.

Start by blanching the chard leaves; this helps them retain their green color. Also, don’t throw out the stems! They are not only colorful but offer great character. I use more milk than cream (you really only need a tiny bit), and I like mine with plenty of Parmesan cheese, but you can cut that out if you like. Don’t cut out the breadcrumbs though, as they really do make this side dish shine.

This is perfect served alongside a big juicy steak, including roasted beef tenderloin. It’s rich and decadent enough for the holiday table too.

Ingredients for Creamed Chard with Buttery Breadcrumbs. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend
Ingredients for Creamed Chard with Buttery Breadcrumbs

Creamed Chard with Buttery Breadcrumbs

Serves 6

    Ingredients:
  • 3 bunches chard (about 2 lbs)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
    Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Strip the stalks from the leaves. Trim the base of the stalks and discard, then thinly slice the stalks. Place in a bowl and set aside. Roughly chop the chard leaves.

  • Fill a large pot about half full of water (at least 3 inches) and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the chopped chard leaves in large handfuls and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes. Drain the chard in a colander and cool under running water. Press and squeeze out as much water as possible. Transfer the chard to a cutting board and chop it roughly.
  • In a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the breadcrumbs and thyme and fry, stirring, until the crumbs are crisp and golden. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.
  • In the frying pan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add the chard stems and onion and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened and the onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour and let bubble for about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring until smooth. Whisk in the cream. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until the sauce becomes very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and reserved blanch chard leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Scrape the mixture into the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Scatter the reserved breadcrumbs over the chard mixture and bake for about 20 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling and the crumbs are deep golden. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
  • Creamed Chard with Buttery Breadcrumbs. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend
    Creamed Chard with Buttery Breadcrumbs. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend

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