Sunday, March 15, 2009

CSA week 15 - A couple things to do with chard

I had chard for both lunch and dinner today (Saturday that is. I'm setting this post to go up tomorrow while I'm at work. Best to pace these things out, don't you think?)

First off, I had some Portuguese chorizo I had bought for kale soup before I decided to go with an Italian recipe instead. I looked around for a Portuguese chard recipe, didn't find one, but found something close enough to adapt. This is chard and beans:


1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 spring thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 pound Spanish or Portuguese cured sausage
1/4 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
smoked paprika to taste
1 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 pound Swiss chard, mostly leaves, thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
salt and pepper
1/4 tablespoon white wine vinegar


1. Heat oil in a medium pot with a tightly fitting lid over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add sausage and cook until crispy on both sides. (I didn't think of this until afterwards and added my sausage later. Crispy would have been better.) Remove sausage from pan.

2. Add onion, garlic and herbs to pan, season with freshly ground black pepper and smoked paprika. Stir to combine and turn heat down a little if the onion starts to brown too quickly. Cook until onion and garlic are soft and golden, about 4 minutes.

3. Reduce heat to medium low and add beans, chard, and broth. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking until chard is tender and broth is thick, about 5 minutes more.

4. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, salt, vinegar and sausage. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprig and serve with toast.

Tasty, but not really a very chard-centric dish as most of the flavor comes from the sausage and the herbs and spices, but the chard's inclusion does elevate it over a basic bowl of beans and weenies.

And for dinner I made a chard pesto:

I found a few recipes for such a thing on-line and they all disagreed about the ratios of the ingredients so I just winged it. They did, however, agree, that you had to cook the chard first. I used mostly stems since I had used mostly leaves earlier. I think I ended up with somewhere between a third and a half pound total. I chopped them up, melted some butter in a pan and cooked the stems for five minutes and added the leaves for three minutes more.

Meanwhile, I toasted an ounce of pinenuts in another pan, and grated out a half cup or so of Parmesan cheese.

Those all went into the food processor along with a handful of parsley and a few splashes of olive oil. After processing I ended up with a tan paste so I don't think I got the ratios right. I thinned it out with a little water, added some salt and, upon consideration, a little basil and oregano. I thinned it out with some pasta water later, too.

Then I boiled up some pasta, fried the squash, ladled the pesto on top and there you go.

Not bad, but it mainly tasted of toasty pinenuts and a bit of cheese. The chard didn't stand up. Also, I don't know if a thick sauce is what it's supposed to look like. Pesto I've seen is usually thin with green flecks, but when I ended up with a base of pinenut butter. Maybe I should have used a lot more olive oil? It wasn't bad mind you, just nothing like the parsley pesto from week nine that I was hoping for.

Still plenty of chard left. I should make something that actually tastes like it next time.

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