Friday night I wanted comfort food, but it took a little effort to convince myself to actually make this comfort food. I decided to try a new polenta method, baking, since I had to turn the oven on to roast the beets (if I thought I could have gotten wilted greens via the oven I would have done that too). Unfortunately the beets took more time than I thought so we just ate wilted garlicy greens and polenta topped with gorgonzola – but when you got a bite with all three things it was oh so good. I was a little leery of the baked polenta, but it turned out just fine, if a little on the thinner than I’m used to. It was nice to just let the leftovers cool in the pan and stick that in the fridge. I used a bit of the leftover polenta in a breakfast scramble and it slide out of the pan nice and easy.
Polenta with gorgonzola and Garlicy Swiss Chard
baked polenta recipe from Everyday Food (and in the Great Food Fast cookbook) topped with diced gorgonzola
Garlicy Swiss Chard chronicled repeatedly here, but this provides good directions (ignoring the onions this time around)
I had let some swiss chard languish in the fridge for far too long, same for a small bunch of arugula and the beet green tops I saved from roasting beets last week. So I grabbed all the dark leafy greens from the fridge (chard, arugula, beet greens) and gave them a good soak, swishing them around, picking out the yucky bits that were too wilty or yellowed, gave them a good shake and set them in a colander while I worked on the next bunch of greens. I put on a pot of quinoa (somehow it felt more fitting than rice and easier than polenta or pasta) and took a second look in the fridge. Thinking of last summer’s bitter greens with sweet onions, I grabbed the remaining 1/4 of a sweet onion too. But then I decided that I didn’t want to use the precious goat feta on this meal. I chopped the onion, the chard stems and several cloves of garlic. Then I chopped up that big colander full of greens and started cooking. The power of the wilt helps prepare my fridge for tomorrow’s share.
Finally I remember the tidbit of goat cheese that remained from last Thursday’s beet salad and grab that. After we plate our quinoa and greens we break the goat cheese in half and crumbled it on top our dinner. From a fridge full of forlorn greens and an impromptu pick of quinoa into a delicious dinner I’d be happy to eat many more times.
Sauteed greens with garlic and onions on top quinoa
serves 3, scale up or down as needed
- big mess of dark leafy greens (a large colander full)
- some onion, sliced into quarter moons
- several garlic cloves (figure 2 per serving), smooshed
- 1/4 water
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- goat cheese
Clean your greens and start the quinoa (2 cups water in a saucepan with 1 cup quinoa; bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and set the timer for 20 minutes). Remove any stems from the greens, chopping those that can be (ie chard stems) – if you are using greens with vastly different wilt times (kale versus spinach for example) separate by cook time. Heat a big pan (with lid) and add some oil to cover the bottom. Saute the onions and chard stems. Add the greens (all at once or starting with the longer cooking greens). Cover the pan. Check after a minute and toss the greens, a pair of tongs works nicely for this. Pour in the 1/4 cup of water and cover the pan to let them steam a bit. Turn a couple more times. Salt and pepper the greens. Once they are cooked to your liking plate everything. I like to start with a base of quinoa, pile on the greens and then finish with a crumble of goat cheese.
I had a bunch of chard sitting in the fridge, and I had plans on making it with garbonzo beans but couldn’t decide between three recipes. To my surprise TheHusband picked this Curried Red Lentil and Swiss Chard Stew with Garbonzo Beans from Epicurious. I had to run out for red lentils and plain yogurt so I went ahead and got some garlic naan to go with it. After reading the reviews I decided to adjust the amount of red lentils to better match the 1:3 lentil to water ratio recommended elsewhere for the lentils. As I often do, I added the chard stems to the recipe instead of tossing them. And finally I used a mix of sweet and hot curry powder and the heat came out just right IMO. I look forward to making this dinner again.
Curried Red Lentil and Swiss Chard Stew with Garbonzo Beans adapted from Epicurious (originally published in Bon Appetit December 2005)
- 2 T oil
- 1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 1/2 t sweet curry powder
- 2 1/2 t hot curry powder
- 1/4 t cayenne pepper
- 5 c vegetable broth
- 1 bunch swiss chard, stems separated from leaves
- 1 2/3 c red lentils
- 1 can garbonzo beans, drained and rinsed.
- small container of plain yogurt
Start by prepping the chard. Chop the stems into small pieces and coarsely chop the leaves. Heat the oil in a large pan (I used my 6 qt pan) and add the onion and chard, saute for about 10-15 minutes until soft and golden. Add the curry powders and cayenne. Add one cup of broth to sort of deglaze the pan, then add the remaining broth and bring to a boil. Add the chard, lentils and garbonzos. Reduce heat and cover. Let everything simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir. If the lentils are falling apart it is time to serve, otherwise simmer for a little longer. Top with plain yogurt.
Swiss Chard, Red Bell Pepper & Ricotta cheese calzones with TJs Herbed Pizza Dough. So good even if they didn’t look so pretty… it was either the bad lighting or the photographer, probably both. Did you know that chard is related to beets? I think that explains the pink (I probably included the stems which seem to exude more color than the rest of the leaf).
Unfortunately I don’t remember what I did. I know I bought dough at TJs, I know that I used The New Best Recipe‘s Calzone recipe as a guideline. The filling had ricotta, mozzarella, an egg, some salt and pepper and I sauteed the chard (cut into ribbons) with some garlic before adding it to the cheese mixture. I think. And I managed to get four smaller calzones out of one hunk of dough. I plopped some filling in the rounds of dough, pinched them shut, brushed them with olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and baked them at 450 for maybe 10 minutes or so.
I wonder how many variations on chickpeas and swiss chard I’ve made? Tonight I tried to make quick rainbow chard and chickpeas over rice from Everybody likes Sandwiches. The operative word being tried since tonight’s meal was really close to being a repeat of that poem in the back of collective cookbooks, the one that talks about making a raved recipe but tweaking every single ingredient (1 tablespoon of tomato paste turns into the whole can, etc.) and in the end shakes her head, unable to understand why everyone loved the recipe. Okay, it wasn’t that – because I know better than to toss out a recipe if I’m the one making too many changes.
What did I change? Onions turned into a leek, vegetable broth turned into water, and lime juice into lemon juice are my most aggregious substitutions. But in the end it still turned out decently even if it didn’t photograph well; also I’m sure it would be yummier if I stuck closer to the recipe.
Quick Rainbow Chard and Chickpeas over Rice from Everybody Likes Sandwiches
eta: I actually managed to write this post the night I made the dish, I just had a backlog of other meals to write about and I really wanted to maintain chronological integrity throughout the blog
That would be dishes as in food items which resulted in a lot more than two dishes to wash (leftover night is better at that game). TheHusband helped me out tonight and we made braised red cabbage from Orangette and Green Apple, Cheese and Chard Oven Omelet from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper. I thought both were delicious and complemented each other nicely; TheHusband just said, “eh, I’ll eat it without complaint, but won’t ask for more”. At least he didn’t decline the leftovers for lunch or worse yet ask to order pizza after one bite – that hasn’t happened yet. Even though he is very tired of chard. Which is too bad because I’m sort of in love with it – like spinach but sturdier — woooo!
I loved the sweet-sour tang of the cabbage and it turned a beautiful vibrant eggplanty purple color. And how can you not love the oven-omelette with its vast quantities of cheese (two cups!). I used half of the humongous onion I got last week (the one that was almost the same size as the small cabbage next to it), it weighed like 21 ounces (if that doesn’t mean anything to you consider the fact that a 3 lb. bag of onions normally has more than two in it; or the fact that the medium-large red onion in my pantry weighed 10 ounces). I did question the bake time for the omelet and ended up taking it out about 10 minutes earlier than their instructions indicated – but it was done.
Braised Red Cabbage with Apples and Caraway Seeds from Orangette
Green Apple, Cheese and Chard Oven Omelet from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper
- olive oil (probably a couple tablespoons)
- 1 bunch swiss chard, stalks and leaves separated – both chopped into 1″ pieces
- 1-2 onions, cut in 1″ dice
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 c water
- 1/2 Granny Smith apple, cut in 1/2″ dice
- 5 eggs
- 3/4 c milk
- 1/8 t nutmeg
- 1/8 t salt
- 1/8 t pepper
- 1 c parmesan, grated & divided into 2/3 cup + 1/3 cup
- 1 c jack cheese, grated & divided into 2/3 cup + 1/3 cup
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Using a 10″ oven safe skillet (really it is big enough), heat it over medium and add the oil. Saute the onions and chard stems until soft (adding salt & pepper to taste), then add the half of the leaves and let them wilt, then add the other half of the leaves and the garlic and let them wilt. Add the water and stir occasionally until it has totally wilted the chard and evaporated away. Remove this from the heat.
While the onions and chard is cooking beat together the eggs, milk, nutmeg, salt, pepper and the 2/3 cups of cheeses. Pour this mixture over the chard in the pan and sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cups of cheese over it. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the egg has set (no goop on the knife after it has been inserted in the middle). The recipe says 10-15 minutes, it only took me another 5 minutes.
I finally made the swiss chard and caramelized onion lasagna. It was fabulous even though I crowded a few too many onions in the pan while caramelizing and they steamed more than caramelized (a bit of sugar and the balsamic helped out with the flavor). I also think I was a little short on chard; I used two bunches but I don’t think they actually measured in at 3 lbs (omg that is a lot of chard).
I was able to make much of this in advance. I blanched the chard and caramelized the onions on Monday and stuck them in the fridge, I boiled the noodles earlier in the afternoon and spread them on kitchen towels (on a cookie sheet) as the recipe suggests. If you don’t have enough non-linty towels try using wax paper. I brought the onions and chard out of the fridge when I started to make the white sauce and so assembly went fairly quickly (no weeknight dinner, but it went smoothly). The only thing is, if you are having guests over don’t tell them you are eating lasagna, be specific or they might be a little unnerved by the site of a white and green (with a wee bit of pink tinted ricotta – thanks chard) lasagna.
Swiss Chard and Caramelized Onion Lasagna from Vegetarian Times (originally from the December 1998 issue)
This night was a disaster and I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for cooking, but I was hungry and we had too much food in the fridge to go out to eat. I ended up making this pasta with chard dish again, but for two. I’m not really sure if I wrote horrible directions for that recipe or if I just sucked in the kitchen that night. Anyway, it took forever and I didn’t take a photo, figuring that I already took a photo of that dinner before (turns out I take photos of leftovers).
Leftovers don’t always feel leftover. When I made the chard-cheese triangles I had so many that most of them went straight to the freezer. Since then I’ve been pulling them out of the freezer two or four at a time and baking them in the toaster oven and it is great. We break up how often we eat them so it isn’t one food overwhelming us and it makes a quick and tasty dinner or lunch without much hands-on work. I grab a sheet of foil (it helps contain leaks), put it over the toaster oven rack, place up to 4 triangles on the foil and set the oven to bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Then I make salad while the triangles bake.
I really wanted to make this Swiss Chard and Caramelized Onion Lasagne recipe, but I only had one bunch of swiss chard and wasn’t sure if I wanted to deal with layering lasagne. So I decided to incorporate the flavors into a pasta bake. I think I could have even avoided the oven and just eaten it once all the ingredients were tossed together. Of course this dish itself is a little labor and dish intensive, and frankly next time I will just make the lasagne (with the white sauce). But we still enjoyed this dish (and will probably freeze half of it).
If I make the original recipe I might need to increase the onions, I used 5 medium sized onions, certainly at least 4 cups worth, and they almost filled my 2.5 quart bowl (the bowl on the left) before cooking but didn’t even fill the smaller bowl (a 1 qt bowl) after cooking into a nice caramelized mass.
Swiss Chard & Caramelized Onion pasta bake
- 1 bunch swiss chard, stems separated from leaves
- 5 yellow onions
- 1 15 oz container ricotta
- 1 t sugar
- 1 t balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper
- 3/4 lb pasta
- 6 oz of small fresh mozzarella balls
Start making the onions first. Peel the onions and slice them in half top to root. Slice them between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick. Put a big skillet (12″) on medium-high heat and add a couple tablespoons of oil, them dump in all the onions, sprinkle with a little (1/2 teaspoon or so) salt and stir about every 5 minutes. After 15 minutes sprinkle the teaspoon of sugar over the onions and continue cooking for another 20 minutes or so, until the onions are a nice caramely color and soft and tasty. Once they are done stir in the balsamic vinegar. Scrape these into a bowl so you can use the skillet for the chard.
While the onions are cooking prep the chard. Cut the chard into short ribbons (or rough chunks) and cut the stems into short 1″ pieces. Once the onions are done preheat the oven to 350 F and heat a tablespoon of oil in the skillet and add the chard stems and a sprinkle of salt. Once they are tender, about 10 minutes, add all the chard leaves and cover with a lid. Stir every couple minutes, if the chard seems to be sticking add 1-2 tablespoons of water to help steam the chard. When it is cooked (wilty and soft) remove from heat and set aside.
In a big bowl mix the chard with the container of ricotta, then add the onions and the pasta. Dump into an oiled casserole dish and top with slices of the mozzerella. Bake for about 25 minutes.