Meat Free Monday
I am grateful to Patients Against Lymphoma, who shared this recipe with me via the JBBC Facebook Fan Page . Commonly known as Swiss Chard, it is a leafy vegetable, in the same species as beetroot. The ancient Greeks and Romans prized chard for its medicinal properties.It’s an excellent source of iron, vitamin C and magnesium (essential for the absorption of calcium). The leaves have a slightly bitter, earthy flavour and are excellent eaten either raw or cooked.
Red Chard, Potato & White Bean Ragout
1 cup dried white beans, boiled in water for 3 minutes and soaked for 2-3 hours.
A bouquet garni made with 1 bay leaf, a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme, and a Parmesan rind, tied together with kitchen string
1 generous bunch red chard (3/4 to 1 pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste), sliced
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
1. Drain the beans and combine with 1 quart of fresh water in a casserole or Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer. Skim off any foam, then add the bouquet garni. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 1 hour. Add 1 teaspoon salt.
2. Meanwhile, stem and clean the red chard leaves in 2 changes of water. Rinse the stems and dice. Set aside. Cut the leaves in ribbons, or coarsely chop, and set aside.
3. Heat the olive oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the onion and chard stems. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the potatoes and stir together, then transfer to the pot with the beans. Bring back to a simmer, cover and simmer 30 minutes, or until the potatoes and beans are tender. Salt to taste.
4. Add the chard and thyme leaves to the pot, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. The chard should be very tender. Stir in freshly ground pepper to taste and the parsley. Taste, adjust seasonings and serve, passing the Parmesan to sprinkle on the top.
Recipe by Martha Rose Schulman, NY Times 10/2008