A while back I bought some vegetarian bacon, but for some reason the recipe that I was going to use it for just kind of disappeared into the blue. So this is the dish that I ended up creating to take its place.
I had actually intended to add caraway seeds and liquid smoke, but that kind of fell by the wayside... I was just to eager to get the thing in the oven. M and I were hungry. This smelled so good in the oven too, because of the bacon. It's really important, I have found, to have fake meats that actually taste good, because they can really make the dish spectacular. I honestly wish that they were cheaper though, like tofu. But, like I was telling M the other day, if you get adjusted to these fake meats then it's hard to deal with bland tofu.
That was a really random tangent. About this gratin. It's got lovely layers, and I called it "teirs of goodness" (pun intended). What's kind of odd is that I really don't like crimini mushrooms all that much, until now, it seems. I have had a fear of them for quite a while now, because I ended up totally ruining a dish with them. But, like I said before, this gratin is really good, with quite a simple list of ingredients. Not to mention it's loads of fun putting it in the dish, because the layers are cool. The only thing is to slice the potatoes wafer thin, otherwise they will not cook through. For something that appears this elagent and tastes this good, I was surprised with how easily this came together.
1 bunch green Swiss chard, large stems removed, cut into ribbons
1 lb crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
Freshly grated salt and pepper
3 medium red potatoes, sliced as thinly as possible (1/8 inch)
2/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 pound sliced vegetarian bacon
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic, and sauté for 6 minutes. Add the chard and sauté until the chard has wilted. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 425. In a casserole dish, layer 1/3 of the potato slices on the bottom. Top with half the cheese, and then half the bacon. Spread all of the swiss chard mixture on top. Add another third of the potatoes, and then the rest of the parmesan. Add the rest of the bacon, and then the remaining potatoes.
Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove the covering, and bake for 30 minutes more, until the potatoes are browned and tender.