Wild Rice Gratin with Kale, Caramelized Onions, & Swiss

I have to be completely honest. At this point, the end of March, I am COMPLETELY disenchanted with this stubborn cold weather Michigan can’t seem to let go of. I’m longing for warm breezes, sandals, and strolls through our local farmers market, tables piled high with fresh, crispy spring vegetables. I’m a little jaded with the typically heavy winter meals like roasted meats, vegetables, heavy soups, and bakes. However, this wild rice gratin still gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling, even though I’m loosing interest in winter foods. I halved the recipe, then baked what I needed in individual dishes. I do love anything with kale!

from: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
serves: 10-12 as a side

5 cups cooked wild rice (I used Lundberg Wild Blend)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced
½ teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 cups stemmed, ribboned kale leaves
2 cups coarsely grated Emmentaler or other Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
¾ cup vegetable broth
1 cup breadcrumbs (preferably fresh)
salt + pepper

Cook the rice according to package instructions. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Caramelize the onions. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions, sprinkle with salt and a little pepper, and cook until they’re tender and sweet, stirring occasionally, about 25-30 minutes. Add the kale and cook until it wilts a bit, about 5 minutes.

Stir together the onion-kale mixture, wild rice, and 1 cup grated cheese in a large bowl. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.

Use 1 tablespoon of butter to generously grease a 2 quart baking dish. (Or you can use individual baking dishes.) Spread the rice mixture into the prepared dish and pour the broth over it. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the gratin. Toss breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon melted butter and salt and pepper to taste; sprinkle over cheese.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a little bubbly and beginning to brown on top.

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