Smoky Bacon and Kale Gratin
Cuisine: American
Author: Jess Thomson
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Seattle celebrity chef Tom Douglas has always championed Bavarian Meats, the Pike Place Market’s German sausage mecca. Specializing in wursts, wieners, cold cuts, and all things Bavarian for more than 50 years, the family-run business is also famous in Seattle for its bacon, which is cut to order and carries a hearty, smoky flavor. While she’s slicing, ask Uta Adamczyk, one of the meat mavens behind the counter, for something new to try. She never leads me astray.
  • 3 thick strips smoky bacon, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 bunch (about 1¼ pounds) lacinato kale, cut into ribbons (about 6 packed cups chopped), rinsed, and dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly black ground pepper
  • 1 cup homemade chicken stock or store-bought chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into tiny cubes, plus more for buttering the dish
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Preheat a large, deep skillet or soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add the bacon, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until almost crisp. Add the kale, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, or until the kale turns bright green. Add the stock, cover the pot, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Take the lid off the pot and cook the kale for another 5 minutes or so, until no liquid remains at the bottom of the pot. (You want the kale to be fairly dry.)
  3. Remove the pot from the heat, add the flour, and stir until no white remains. Butter a medium oval gratin dish (a pie plate or several small crème brûlée dishes or large ramekins will work as well) and add the kale in a roughly even layer. Check the kale for seasonings, dot with the butter, and sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the top. Drizzle the cream over the cheese, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cream is bubbling and the cheese is browned. Serve warm.
To prepare the kale for this warming side dish, chop the tough ends off right where the leaves begin to sprout from the stalk. Gather the kale leaves together in groups and cut them into ¼-inch strips across the stalk, almost like cutting basil into chiffonade (long, thin ribbons). Once the kale is cut, it’s easier to soak and spin dry in a salad spinner. Also, feel free to use any type of kale.

Recipe by Jess Thomson. Printed with permission from Pike Place Market Recipes.
Recipe by The Messy Baker at