Provençal Swiss chard tian

    1 hour

    In this colourful, vitamin-rich dish, rice and leafy Swiss chard are layered with sliced tomatoes and baked in a Gruyère-flavoured custard. The name of the dish – ‘tian’ – comes from the earthenware casserole in which such mixtures of vegetables, rice and eggs are traditionally baked in Provence.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 250 g (8 1/2 oz) long-grain rice
    • 400 g (14 oz) Swiss chard
    • 100 g (3 1/2 oz) Gruyère cheese, grated
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
    • 340 g (12 oz) tomatoes, sliced
    • 3 eggs, beaten
    • 200 ml (7 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:45min  ›  Ready in:1hr 

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4). Cook the rice in boiling water for 10–15 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until just tender. Drain well.
    2. Trim the stalks from the chard and chop. Cut the chard leaves into 2 cm (3/4 in) slices. Drop the stalks into a large pan of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chard leaves and cook for a further 1–2 minutes. Drain well in a colander, then refresh under cold running water. Press out excess liquid.
    3. Mix together the chard and rice, then stir in about half of the grated Gruyère, the thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.
    4. Lightly grease a 2 litre (3½ pint) tian (earthenware casserole) or a shallow ovenproof dish. Spoon half the rice mixture into the dish, spreading evenly. Add a layer of half the tomato slices, then spoon over the remaining rice mixture.
    5. Whisk together the eggs and milk in a measuring jug. Pour evenly over the rice mixture. Arrange the remaining tomato slices on top and sprinkle with the rest of the Gruyère. Bake for about 45 minutes or until lightly set and the top is beginning to brown. Serve hot.

    Some more ideas

    Use spring greens instead of Swiss chard. There is no need to separate the stalks and leaves, and cooking time is 2–3 minutes. * For a courgette and mushroom loaf, melt 25 g (scant 1 oz) butter in a frying pan and cook 350 g (12½ oz) sliced courgettes and 200 g (7 oz) sliced mushrooms with a crushed garlic clove until golden. Add to the cooked rice, together with the eggs, milk, 3 tbsp chopped parsley and 100 g (3½ oz) grated Cheddar cheese. Season to taste. Pour into a greased and bottom-lined 1.2 litre (2 pint) loaf tin and smooth the surface. Bake in a preheated 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4) oven for about 1 hour or until just set. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife round the sides of the loaf and turn out. Serve with a chunky tomato sauce made by cooking canned chopped tomatoes until thick.

    Plus points

    Leafy greens like Swiss chard are a good source of vitamins C, E, K and folate, as well as minerals such as calcium. * Rice is a low-fat starchy carbohydrate, an ideal foodstuff to include in a healthy diet. It is also gluten-free and therefore suitable for those with coeliac disease.

    Each serving provides

    A, B12, C, folate, calcium * niacin, zinc * B1, B2, B6, E, copper, iron, potassium, selenium

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