Monday, November 25, 2013

individual onion crunch topped creamy kale gratins

Onion Crunch has been wooing me with their crunchy onions for a while now. Last year, in the middle of our construction project, a large package of samples arrived... and since I opened the box in front of the workmen, I ended up sharing the contents with our {psyched} carpenters, masons, and painters. This year, my kids got to the package first and excitedly wanted to "do the challenge".  OK, so the "challenge" involved adding Onion Crunch to one of our Thanksgiving recipes.

I have a decadent, make-ahead, creamy kale gratin that my family loves. Normally, I just make it as is-- creamy, rich, and comforting... but I was thinking that it might be even better with the addition of some crispy onions?... I was right. It was ahhmazing.

But first, before I share the recipe, you should know that we had to do a taste test. No blindfolds? No problem! Over-sized ski hats will work.

After trying all three, we read the ingredients. One of the other brands had a few ingredients my kids had never heard of... and I have a rule that if you can't pronounce it, you shouldn't eat it. Onion Crunch has four ingredients: onions, palm oil, wheat four and salt.

Onion Crunch was also the tastiest and crunchiest. Now, there's no "health halo" here, Onion Crunch is still a fried item, so something we'd only eat on occasion. But, as a crunchy, yummy addition to baked potatoes {a current favorite of my children}, or something like these creamy kale gratins, Onion Crunch is my pick. And, according to my very rationale 10-year-old, Onion Crunch is his too. {Note that my 6-year-old was too busy inhaling the various samples to add much to the review...} So, on to the recipe!

It's onions and garlic sauteed in butter...

then I add some whole wheat flour...

then heavy cream and whole milk... {remember, I said this was a decadent recipe}

then a lot of frozen, chopped kale...

and the zest of a lemon, some nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste...

then this filling going into small ramekins, or a large casserole or two...

and is topped with Onion Crunch. {Note that you don't have to top it with Onion Crunch. I usually make it without, but now that it's been such a hit, I think I'm going to have to start topping our kale gratin with these frizzled onions!}. The whole recipe took me about 10 minutes to make, and then it baked for 20 minutes. Everyone loved it on tonight's trial run.

Individual Onion Crunch Topped Creamy Kale Gratins
(makes 18 individual ramekins or two 8x8 casseroles)
can be made-ahead and frozen

1 stick of organic butter (8 Tablespoons)
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced (or 6 cubes Dorot frozen garlic cubes)
1/2 cup flour
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
40 oz frozen chopped kale (four 10-oz pkgs)
5 oz shredded Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup Onion Crunch (optional)

Preheat oven to 425. Melt the butter in a large pot and saute onion and garlic until onions become translucent. Add the flour and stir until combined. Add cream and milk and stir for a few minutes, until thickened. Turn burner off and add frozen kale, Parmesan, and nutmeg. Stir to combine, then season with salt and pepper, to taste. Scoop kale mixture into individual ramekins, or into two medium casserole dishes. 

If baking now: top each dish with Onion crunch, if you want a crispy, flavorful topping. Bake for 20 minutes or until top is golden brown and gratin is warmed through. Serve warm.

If freezing and baking later: cover ramekins or casseroles tightly with plastic wrap, then foil. Label and date. Can be frozen for up to 3 months if air-tight. When ready to bake you can thaw the dish(es) in the fridge for 1-2 days, then sprinkle with Onion Crunch (optional) and bake at 425, for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and warmed through. Or, if your dish can go straight from the freezer to the oven, you may put the dish in the oven as it is preheating to 425, then bake the gratin(s) for 30 minutes covered with foil, then uncover, sprinkle with Onion Crunch (optional) and continue baking uncovered for another 30 minutes, until golden brown and warmed through.

Hope your family enjoys this decadent side as much as my family does!

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