Saturday, July 11, 2020

RECIPE: Risotto with Red Chard, Leeks, Garlic Scapes, Tarragon, Cream and Walnuts

I have made this with pasta many times, it's one of my favorite way to use swiss chard (the other is this recipe, with white beans).  Last night, to change things up, I made it as risotto.

Risotto with Red Chard, Leeks, Garlic Scapes, Tarragon, Cream and Walnuts
Serves 6-8

  • 4 T. ghee or EVOO, divided
  • 10 garlic scapes sliced into 1" pieces
  • 1 c. minced leek, white and light green part only (I use onions when I'm out of leeks)
  • 1 pound swiss chard, preferably red, stems cut from leaves and both chopped into thin slices
  • 1/4 t. pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/3 c. broth (I use veal broth, vegetarians can use water)
  • 1.5 cups short grain rice (sushi, arborio, carnaroli, or vialone nano)6-8 cups liquid (water, broth, or a mixture)
  • 1-2 t. himalayan pink salt (more or less depending on whether you use salted broth)

  • 2 T. minced fresh tarragon (you can use parsley if you don't have tarragon)
  • 2/3 - 1 c. heavy cream
  • 3 T. toasted walnut halves, broken into small pieces (I use soaked and dehydrated)
  • Parmesan  or Asiago cheese (optional)

In a skillet set over medium heat, melt 1 T. ghee and saute garlic scapes until softened and slightly charred.

Reduce heat to moderately low and melt remaining 1 T. ghee, add leek, chard stems, and salt and pepper to taste. Cut a round piece of waxed paper to fit the size of your skillet and place it over the vegetables. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the cover and waxed paper. Now add the chard leaves, red pepper flakes, and broth,  Replace the parchment and cover and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes more.  Transfer to a small bowl.   

Increase heat to medium, add 2 T. EVOO to the pan and saute the rice until it's opaque. 

Add 1/2 cup* of broth/water and increase heat to high.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until you can see the pan bottom as you stir.  Add another 1/2 cup water/broth and continue in this manner for 10 minute, adding 1/2 cup liquid whenever you can see the pan bottom.  After 10 minutes, the rice should be half cooked: the outside of each kernel should be translucent, and the center should be opaque.

Add the salt (if using) and the reserved chard mixture to the rice.

Add 1/2 cup of broth/water and continue as before for another 8 minutes.  You may need more or less water depending on how old your rice is and how hot your burner is. 

The rice should be almost done now.  Only a very small dot of opacity should remain in the center of each kernel.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the cream and the tarragon.  Cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes until the rice is cooked and the cream has been incorporated. 

Serve sprinkled with chopped walnuts and grated cheese.  (I served it with carrot salad).

* If your burner doesn't get very hot, you will need to add the water 1/4 cup at a time so that the temperature of the liquid doesn't drop too drastically with each addition.  Your burner should be able to maintain a good simmer after each addition of liquid.  If your burner is very weak, you will need to heat the liquid before adding it.

At this point, I would like to tell you that the leek I used for this dish had been in our fridge for 10 months.  Yes, almost a year!  Because it was sown and harvested according to the biodynamic calendar, it was still good almost a year later!!!  I have 5 more of these to tide me over until they appear in the farm store.

cleaned leek on cutting board with lemon and knife
10-month old biodynamic leek!

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