Stems Gratin

Source: Alison Mountford, Ends + Stems

Recipe Type: | Seasons: , ,

This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on March 31, 2018.

Makes 4-6 servings


1 pound potatoes, russet or Yukon gold, washed and scrubbed
1½ cups stems from assorted leafy greens (chard, kale, collards – one type or mixed)
½ cup dark green fennel stalks and leafy bits
2 cups broccoli stems, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
½ onion, sliced in thin rings
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
Salt and pepper
¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary, thyme, chives, oregano (some or blend)
1 cup grated cheese (Gruyere, Emmentaler, or fontina)
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ cup bread crumbs (bonus points for using homemade made from leftover bread)


To prepare potatoes: Dice the potatoes into ½ inch cubes (I like to wash the skins and leave them on, no food waste right?!). Place in a pot with enough cold water to cover and 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender but holding their shape, about 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the dice.

To prepare greens: Wash the stems well and chop them into a small dice. Wash the broccoli stalks, peeling them if needed (peel them if they have brown, dry nubs or if they are very woody in general. If they are young and tender enough, a simple scrub will do). Slice into rounds or half-moon shapes. About 2 minutes before the potatoes are done, add the stems to the pot and bring to a simmer again. Cook for 2 minutes. Drain well, letting everything sit for a few minutes until dry.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

To prepare cheese sauce: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a tall sided pot. Add the flour all at once and whisk well to ensure there are no clumps. Cook roux for about 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring to cook evenly, then slowly pour in milk while whisking. Let the sauce cook and thicken for about 10 minutes, or until it is about the consistency of heavy cream. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from heat and add in the grated cheese, whisking to incorporate. Add the chopped herbs. Toss cheese sauce with potatoes and stems. Transfer to a 9×13 (for a thinner dish with more topping) or an 8×8 (for a deeper dish with less topping) casserole dish, and spread into an even layer.

Mix breadcrumbs with remaining 2 tablespoons soft butter and the olive oil (like you would for a pie crust). Spread the breadcrumb topping evenly over the potato and stems. Bake for about 25-35 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Serve while still warm, either as a vegetarian main dish or a side dish.

Farmers Market Ingredients