Monday, September 21, 2009
ruby chard bouquet
The smell of freshly chopped chard reminds me of sweet summer Earth - I just pop out to the garden while the pasta is cooking, shake off the dirt, check the curled backs of the leaves for spiders and other bugs and it's ready to saute. I love to throw chopped chard last minute into soups.Sauteed in olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes is wonderful. It grows well into early Winter here on the coast, and tolerates summer heat without bolting. I am letting a couple of the larger chards go to seed, as an experiment in seed saving. I would grow the plants even if they weren't so good to eat, as they're so gorgeous~ especially the ruby chard with its luminous, magenta stems. Here's a recipe for barley and lentil soup I am making for a cooler weather meal: * 1 tablespoon olive oil * 1 1/2 cups chopped onions * 1 1/2 cups chopped peeled carrots * 3 large garlic cloves, minced * 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin * 10 cups vegetable broth * 2/3 cup pearl barley * 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice * 2/3 cup dried lentils * 4 cups (packed) coarsely chopped Swiss chard (about 1/2 large bunch) * 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill Heat oil in heavy large nonreactive pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots; sauté until onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 minute. Mix in cumin; stir 30 seconds. Add 10 cups broth and barley; bring to boil. Reduce heat; partially cover and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with juice and lentils; cover and simmer until barley and lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Add chard to soup; cover and simmer until chard is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in dill. Season soup with salt and pepper. Thin with more broth, if desired.