Sunday, November 14, 2010

red chard risotto

Leafy greens have become a weekly staple of late in the CSA delivery. I am enjoying the variety, which seems to run the gamut from week to week. Last week, it was beautiful baby dino kale (yes, sounds like an oxymoron, but it's true!). This week, our leafy greens came in the form of the biggest red chard leaves I have ever seen. Ever. "Bigger than my head," according to JR. The pic confirms it.

Sometimes big leaves can be tough or bitter, but I didn't find that to be an issue here. This was definitely a case of making up a dish based on ingredients we had on hand vs. grocery shopping with a specific idea in mind. I was happy with the results. Lemon brightens the flavor of the overall dish and I enjoy the salty bursts of kalamata olives. With a lighter colored stock (the mushroom stock is quite dark), it would be possible to create a beautiful pink risotto as the rice soaks up the color from the chard ribs.

My posts have been a little slow lately and will remain that way for a while. This is turning out to be a busy fall full of travel. Next up: London. While I don't plan to cook from there, I definitely do plan to eat: if you know of any great restaurants there, send me a note!

Red Chard Risotto
Serves 3-4

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch chard, center ribs separated from leaves: center ribs chopped and leaves cut into thin ribbons
zest & juice of 1 lemon
1 c. arborio rice
1/2 c. white wine
4 c. hot mushroom stock (can substitute vegetable or chicken)
a big pinch of white pepper
12 kalamata olives, quartered
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1/4 c. feta cheese, plus more to garnish

Heat olive oil in a french oven. Add onions, garlic, and chard ribs. Cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add rice. Stir until covered with a nice sheen. Add wine. Simmer 3-4 minutes until mostly absorbed. Add lemon juice. Adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer.

Add stock 1/2 c. at a time, letting the rice absorb the majority of liquid between each addition and stirring regularly.

Once rice is tender (if you run out of stock before this happens, add hot water 1/2 c. at a time until rice is tender). Add chard leaves, lemon zest (reserve some for garnish if desired), white pepper, olives, and cheeses. Stir and cook until chard is wilted.

Serve garnished with reserved lemon zest and a sprinkle of feta.

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