Posts Tagged ‘Vegetables’

A nice way with chard — sweet and sour

18 October 2021

A caponata-inspired, quick chard dish to tackle the enormous amount of vegetables that have, again, accumulated in my fridge.

On Wednesday I had a brief moment of panic when I opened the refrigerator. Vegetables crammed in each drawer, wedged on every shelf, and a few days coming up ahead with no time to cook.

Thomas and I put on some music and proceeded to wash, peel, cut through most of it: onions, kilos of leeks and courgettes, a whole bunch of celery, mizuna, spring onions, chard. The simplest battle plan, in such cases, is usually soup, and that is where I was headed. But there was barely enough room in my big pot, I needed to find another idea for the chard.

My thoughts wandered towards caponata, sweet and sour, pared down to the minimalist treatment: raisins and vinegar. I had a bunch of spring onions too… I’ve become a bit fixated on sautéed vegetables with spring onions.

The soup was good — speckled green on green, herby and blended smooth (always a great cause of debate in this house, as there are those in favour of blending, and those vociferously against!).

While the chard, practically an afterthought, turned out really great!

A nice way with chard recipe

One large bunch of chard, about 400g
Two bunches (about 12) spring onions
Olive oil
A handfull of sultanas (I’m quite partial to sultanas but raisins would be fine)
2 Tbsps red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp sweeter white wine vinegar, such as moscatel (or use cider vinegar)
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Trim the stalks of chard off the leaves, then cut off and discard the dried very end bits. Wash the stalks, cut them into 1cm (1/2 inch) pieces.

Cut the chard leaves into strips, roughly 5 cm (2 inches) wide. Wash them well — this might require two passes in cold water, as chard can be gritty.

Trim off the roots and any damaged leaves from the spring onions. With the flat of a large knife, squash the onions along their length. Cut the flattened onions into 5cm (2 inch) pieces.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet/frying pan. When hot, add the spring onions. Leave them on medium heat, without stirring, until they begin to turn brown — just when they start sticking to the pan. Now stir, add the chard stalks, lower the heat and cover the skillet with a lid (my skillet doesn’t have its own lid so I use one from another big pot, even if it doesn’t cover the pan completely). Cook gently for 7 to 10 minutes, until the stalks become slightly translucent.

Toss in the sultanas and the vinegars and cook for 2 to 3 minutes uncovered.

Now add the chard leaves, salt, and pepper, cover once more with a lid, and cook, still over low heat, mixing through occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes. The chard (both stalks and leaves) should have softened completely.

Cool, then refrigerate, and ideally let come to room temperature before serving. This keeps in the fridge for a few days.

Autumn soups

9 November 2020

Occasionally (or, possibly, fairly often), I binge-buy vegetables. Last Wednesday was such a day. Whatever the reason — (ir)rational distractedness? — I apparently ordered, from our London supplier of local British produce Farm Direct, carrots, cauliflowers, broccoli, leeks, turnips, kohlrabi, pumpkin, celery stalks and root, onions, peppers… I may be forgetting something? — Mushrooms!

I rarely buy food with the intention of a specific recipe. Usually, especially with produce, it’s what looks good and is available, and since the season has changed there was exaggerated enthusiasm about all the new things. Which doesn’t solve the problem of what I will be doing with all of this, but an easy guess would be: soup!

Here are a few autumnal soups that I like going back to, over the years.

Creamy spiced lentil soup

A soup in shades of green

Spicy lentil and red kuri squash soup

Parsnip and butternut squash soup with sage

Soba noodle soup with meatballs and bok choy

Cream of cauliflower soup with salmon roe

Five-ingredient pumpkin leek soup


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