Curried Cabbage & Kale Gratin
2 tbsp fat — my preference is always animal fat, such as tallow, chicken fat, duck fat or butter, but if you are going vegetarian route, olive oil will do nicely
2 slices of thick-cut bacon [totally optional], preferably not the strong flavored one, cut into 1/2″ wide strips
1 large leek, dark green parts removed, sliced in half lengthwise, rinsed out, and sliced about 1/4″ thick
3 cloves of garlic, slivered
1 tsp curry powder
1 small cabbage head, cored, quartered and sliced not too thin
1 bunch kale, I used Lacinato, coarsest parts of the stems discarded, the rest coarsely chopped
1/2 cup water for braising the cabbages
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup white bread crumbs, I used Panko
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, or similar
2 tbsp butter, melted, for topping
Heat the cooking fat in a large deep skillet or a Dutch oven, over medium heat
Add bacon strips, leek and garlic at the same time and saute for a few minutes, until leeks are fragrant, and bacon is golden brown.
Add curry spice and stir well to coat the onions and bacon.
Add thyme and cabbage and saute for a few minutes, until cabbage releases some of the juice.
Add kale and water. Stir everything very well, add salt and pepper, about 1/2 tsp each. Stir again and let cook over medium heat, until water evaporates and vegetables wilt nicely, and cabbage becomes translucent. It should still retain a bit of a light crunch. Remove from heat.
Whisk eggs and milk in a separate bowl. Add about 1/2 cup bread crumbs and 1/2 the cheese. Stir well.
Add egg mix to the cabbage mix and stir until well distributed.
Heat the oven to 375F.
In a casserole dish spread a handful of bread crumbs on the bottom.
Fold out the gratin mix into the casserole and spread evenly.
Coat with remaining cheese and bread crumbs uniformly.
Drizzle melted butter on top.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until top is nicely browned.