Arsip Tag: chard

leek and swiss chard tart – smitten kitchen

What’s on your list? You know, the running one you keep in your head, in a series of Post-It notes spread across all surfaces of your life, or if you are particularly scary kooky, on a spreadsheet? Me, I’ve got several lists. There’s the Apartment Want This list, because, oh, how I covet the home furnishings; the Go Here list, which holds my in- and outside NYC destination dreams; the Read This list, which I pretty much avoid, and the Listen to This list with all of the music I would like to download and shake my booty arrhythmically to were I not fascistly opposed to DRM.


Then there is the Cook This list, all 300+ items long. This one neither makes me feel bad about my financial limitations (like the Apartment list), vacation time availability (like the Go Here list), my Web-ruined attention span when it comes to content running more than 500 words (like the Read This list), or what happens when you let a bunch of people in board rooms decide how music should be sold (like the Listen list). Sure, I don’t have time to get to all of the items on the Cook This list, but that’s not the point.

swiss chart leek tart

Thus, let me humbly suggest that you add a Leek Swiss Chard Tart to your list or lists, in whatever format they may be. I had bookmarked this for more months than I care to dwell on, and then made it two days before we had a chance to eat it and still, it has absolutely saved us at dinnertime twice this week. To me, a quiche and a few salad greens, perhaps a bit of something pickled and, oh, why not, a decadent slice of cheese in the fridge is all I could ever need or want to subsist on. It is both Brunch and Dinner. It tastes as good the third day as it did the first.

It is one less thing on a list, and this alone is something to celebrate.

leek and swiss chard tart

One year ago: Sweet and Spicy Candied Pecans

Leek and Swiss Chard Tart
Bon Appetit, October 1999

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed (I used a basic tartdough instead)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 bunch Swiss chard, ribs removed, leaves chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 1/4 cups whipping cream (I used whole milk)
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg

Roll out pastry on floured work surface to 12-inch square. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Fold under; crimp edges. Cover; chill.

Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover; cook until leeks are very tender but not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add chard; saute until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cool.

Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425°F. Whisk cream and next 5 ingredients in large bowl. Mix in cooled leek mixture. Pour filling into crust.

Bake tart 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake until filling is puffed and just set in center, about 15 minutes longer (this took my oven about 10 minutes longer). Transfer to rack; cool 10 minutes.

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spaghetti with swiss chard and garlic chips – smitten kitchen

spaghetti with swiss chard and garlic chips – smitten kitchen

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[This recipe got a light refresh in 2019 and some new photos.]

It’s a tough thing, you know, growing up and realizing you might not be exactly what you once thought you might. I am most certainly not the next Susanna Hoffs, Joan Jett or Mrs. Jon Bon Jovi; I’m not a doctor or astronaut but more fitting for this conversation, I always thought I would be an avid ingester of all sorts of greens and here I am, still quite put off by most of them.

what you'll needseparate leaves from stems

I know this is something of a sacrilege in the food-fixated world, but I’ve never gotten into broccoli rabe (too bitter, almost always too tough), kale (tastes “funny”) and collards (ditto). I wish I would and I wish I could, but I’ve also learned that there are bigger fish to fry (so yeah, that too) than to fret over those things that have just never appealed to you.

ready to go

But Swiss chard is my green; it’s my boo. We get along famously. It picks up where cooked spinach in dishes leaves off (too soft, loses flavor too easily); it’s a little tougher but still tender enough to cut with the side of a fork, it holds it own in big soups and stews and quiches and it’s just bursting with all of that iron-y goodness I miss out on, eschewing so many other members of the humble greens family. I not only like it, I look for excuses to cook it and this was one of my favorites yet.

garlic, becoming chipsgarlic chipscook the stemstoss tossspaghetti with swiss chard and garlic chipsspaghetti with swiss chard and garlic chips

One year ago: Cranberry, Caramel and Almond Tart This is the best thing, ever. I am making it again this month. And again.
Two years ago: Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes

Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Garlic Chips

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise though I am sure crosswise would work as well
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried currants (we skipped this)
  • 2 pounds green Swiss chard, stems and center ribs finely chopped and leaves coarsely chopped separately
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, cut into slivers
  • 6 ounces feta, crumbled (1 1/2 cups) or ricotta salata, coarsely grated
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook garlic, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer garlic with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

Cook onion in oil remaining in skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add currants and cook, stirring, until plumped, about 1 minute.

Stir chard stems into onion mixture with water and 3/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in chard leaves and cook, covered, until stems and leaves are tender, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 5 quarts water) until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water and drain spaghetti.

Toss spaghetti with chard, olives, and 1/2 cup cooking water, adding more cooking water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with feta or ricotta salata and garlic chips.


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swiss chard and sweet potato gratin – smitten kitchen

Surely I’m not alone in this: When I’m eating starchy foods, I think I should be eating more greens. When I’m eating my greens, I wish I had heavier foods to balance them. And pretty much all of the time, I wonder why it has been so long since I made macaroni and cheese.

so much chard!yamsmise, messgreens and yams gratin

And this is what happens when I stewed all of these thoughts together in my head over countless feedings. I love sweet potatoes but I find most preparations of them too heavy and sweet (which is why I stick to spicing, curry-ing and/or spicing, curry-ing and frittering them); I love chard but I find most preparations of it too earnest but when I put these together in a gratin I ended up with the most bubbling, gurgling, cooing delight of a fall comfort there could be.

(Or maybe I’m just talking about the baby.)

gray day

To me, this is the best of all worlds: so rich and cozy, it makes your apartment smell like there’s not a single good reason to leave it, but also chock-full of peak season, straight-from-the-market produce that I’d like to believe could not imagine a more decadent way to go out.

swiss chard and sweet potato gratin

One year ago: Home Fries, Apple Pancakes, Fennel, Proscuitto and Pomegranate Salad, Olive Oil Muffins and Chicken Pot Pie
Two years ago: Apricot and Walnut Vareniki, Chicken with Chanterelles and Pearl Onions and Pumpkin Waffles
Three years ago: Grilled Cheese and Cream of Tomato Soup and Cranberry Sauce, Three Ways

Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin

I won’t lie, Swiss chard can be a real pain to prep, what with the rib-separation and rendering of unfathomable volumes down to a few measly cups of cooked greens. I like to chop, wash and dry mine the day before, but if you’re especially in a rush, I see no reason you can’t swap pre-washed (3 pounds) or even frozen spinach (about 5 to 6 cups). I also don’t see why you can’t swap the sweet potato for thin slices of butternut squash but then you will have less of an exuse to say “yam-yam” to the baby over and over again until he laughs.

Finally, if my gratin looks a little “wet” to you, don’t worry, yours — providing you squeeze your greens out well — should not. I just mindlessly baked mine for half the time covered with foil which is not a bad idea for all-potato gratins, not drying enough for greens.

Serves 12

1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 pounds Swiss chard, leaves and stems separated and both cut into 1-inch pieces
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups heavy cream or whole milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons flour
2 pounds medium red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) coarsely grated Gruyére cheese

Prep greens: Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a wide 8-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add chard stems, pinch of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender but not browned, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to moderately high and add chard leaves by large handfuls, stirring, until all greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper then transfer greens to a colander to drain well and press out liquid with back of a large spoon.

Make sauce: Combine cream or milk and garlic in small saucepan; bring to simmer; keep warm. Melt two tablespoons butter in a medium heavy saucepan over moderate heat and stir in flour. Cook roux, whisking, one minute, then slowly whisk in warm cream/milk and boil, whisking, one minute. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Assemble gratin: Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter deep 9×13 baking dish. Spread half of sweet potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, a quarter of the herbs and a 1/4 cup of the cheese. Distribute half of the greens mixture over the cheese, then sprinkle salt, pepper, a quarter of the herbs and 1/4 cup of the cheese over it. Pour half of bechamel sauce over the first two layers then continue with the remaining sweet potatoes, more salt, pepper, herbs and cheese and then the remaining greens, salt, pepper and herbs. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the gratin, pressing the vegetables slightly to ensure that they are as submerged as possible. Sprinkle with the last 1/4 cup of cheese.

Bake gratin for about 1 hour until golden and bubbly, and most of the liquid is absorbed. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Do ahead: You can make the entire gratin but not bake it up to a day in advance and keep it in the fridge. You can also make and bake the gratin and reheat it. Gratins reheat well, but they take almost as much time to gently heat through as they do to bake in the first place, especially deep ones like this. As for reheating, already baked and frozen, I will find out very soon! But I am near-positive it will be fine.

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creamed chard and spring onions – smitten kitchen

My fridge is a mess. I like to fancy myself a focused shopper; I know what I want to cook, I carefully make lists of the ingredients I don’t have yet and I don’t come home until every item is crossed off.

spring onions, rainy day

Eh, hold on a moment because somewhere on the other side of a computer screen, my husband just snorted coffee through his nose. Look, I aim to be a focused, efficient shopper, I really do! It’s just that often the gap between my aspirations (look at my to-do list, and all of those little check marks!) and my reality (oh, we’re out of milk, eggs and flour? I thought I’d checked!) is big. And filled with a husband, who often gets relayed to a store because I’d forgotten one little thing.

ribbons of chard

Nevertheless, my fridge is a mess of my own making. Unable to find half the things I’ve been hoping to at the market lately, I’ve been walking away with random pretties that I have no immediate plans for, and on Thursday, it was time to stage an intervention or Let Good Food Go To Waste, which as you all know, is an unforgivable offense. And so I did what I too rarely do, which is throw some stuff together and see where it takes me, in this case, to a warmer weather version of creamed spinach, with chard and spring onions. Except, I got the math a little wrong and ended up with too creamy greens (woe is me!) and used some pasta and Parmesan to distribute the extra and lo and behold, I had made a most delicious lunch. I really should do this more often.

spring onions, concentrics

So this is a recipe for those of you who ask about the kinds of things I throw together from what is in front of me; I am not going to make any all-cap demands that you Make This Right Now, I don’t believe I’ve reinvented greens and pasta, but I liked this. It was filling and indulgent, yet far enough from the mac-and-cheese line that I could pass it off as a weekday lunch. And most importantly, I’m clearing space in the fridge for my next big idea, which had better involve carrots as I might have gone overboard buying them once I discovered a certain tot’s propensity toward them.

creamed chard and spring onion pasta

Next up: I’m debating working through my cooking (and fridge/pantry) backlog with daily posts this week. Someone please talk me out of it?

One year ago: Buttermilk Ice Cream
Two years ago: Cauliflower, Bean and Feta Salad
Three years ago: Margarita Cookies

Creamed Chard and Spring Onions
Adapted from my Creamed Spinach

You can swap cream or half and half for all or a portion of the milk, if you want this to be extra lush. You could also stir in a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan. I won’t tell.

1 1-pound bunch Swiss chard, thick stems removed and leaves sliced into ribbons
3 spring onions, ends trimmed, white and some green parts sliced into thin coins
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
Salt and pepper

Wash your chard, but no need to dry it, just place it in a large pot over high heat. Cook, covered, with just the water clinging to leaves, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 6 minutes.

Press or squeeze out the excess liquid any number of ways, either by wringing it out in cheesecloth (my favorite method), putting it in a mesh strainer and pressing the moisture out with a spatula or large spoon or letting it cool long enough to grab small handfuls and squeezing them to remove as much water as possible.

Wipe out the large pot so you can use it again. Heat milk or cream in a small saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until warm. Keep warm. Meanwhile, cook onion and garlic, if using, in butter in your wiped-out large pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about six minutes. Whisk in flour and cook roux, whisking, about three minutes. Add warm milk or cream in a slow stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, and simmer, whisking, until thickened, three to four minutes. Stir in chard, then salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until heated through.

To make Creamed Chard and Spring Onion Pasta: Use 1 3/4 cups of milk instead of 1 1/4 cups. Stir 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan into the sauce while cooking, and keep extra on hand for serving. This should be enough to toss with about half a pound of pasta (more or less depending on how saucy you like yours).

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chard and white bean stew – smitten kitchen

High on the list of dishes I’d like to be able to make without a second thought, a special trip to a special store and that I hope to still be cooking when we spend our days in his-and-hers creaking rocking chairs, lamenting that Jacob never calls us anymore, is a hearty white bean stew.

chard and white bean stew-01
chard and white bean stew-02

And never has my need to get a recipe like this down been more urgent, given the following confluence of events: 1. A kid who is getting more and more into rejecting food, but shows a keen interest in beans and anything cooked in a tomato-y sauce. 2. A mama who is near the end of her tether trying to fit an impossible amount of ingredients in her 2 (yes, two) kitchen cabinets and revels in a recipe that will use up multiple cans of beans, a box of tomatoes and a carton of broth and 3. A website audience that will likely hightail it out of here if I present you with one more recipe in a row that hinges on cream and booze, butter and cheese, butter and sprinkles or butter and wine. It’s January, after all, and we have resolutions to attend to! Resolutions that probably do not include butter… That’s for February, after all.

chard and white bean stew-03
chard and white bean stew-04
chard and white bean stew-05
chard and white bean stew-06

I know that unless you are a tomato and white bean junkie, as I am, the prospect of a bowl of sloshy stew built on their foundation doesn’t sound very appealing. But what transforms it, I’d argue, is the presentation. I like to place a thick slice of well-toasted, garlic-rubbed bread underneath, ladle the stew over it and finish it with a softly poached egg. A few gratings of parmesan or romano might also be welcome on top, but I don’t think it needs either to be tasty. Mostly, this is a cozy meal, the perfect antidote to a month of excess without feeling excessively earnest. It’s still 36 degrees outside, afterall, last week’s blizzard remains in filthy gray islands of snow (albeit a little prettier in backyards) and there are more than three months until spring. Hearty is key.

chard and white bean stew-09

[Thank you to Barrett Washburne for styling the refreshed photos!]

One year ago: Southwestern Pulled Brisket
Two years ago: Potato and Artichoke Tortilla
Three years ago: Viennese Cucumber Salad
Four years ago: Really Simple Homemade Pizza

chard and white bean stew-08

Chard and White Bean Stew
Adapted a bit generously from Dan Barber

My notes: I started with a recipe from Dan Barber for a kale and white bean stew but used 2/3 of the greens suggested, because I really want this to be a white bean, not greens, stew. Then, I swapped some of the vegetable broth for pureed tomatoes, because that’s what I think a bean stew needs. I dialed back the broth a bit, because I don’t like soupy stews… Oh, and I added some weights and then (typical!) forgot I was weighing ingredients so only some are listed. Sorry about that. Finally, I cooked the wine down more than suggested because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t accidentally going to booze up the kid so that he might accidentally get a good night’s sleep. Because that would be terrible, you know?

1 pound Swiss chard (can also swap kale, spinach or another green), ribs and stems removed and cleaned
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup (5 1/4 ounces) chopped carrots
1 cup (5 ounces) chopped celery
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) chopped shallots, about 4 medium
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 15-ounce cans (or about 3 3/4 cups) white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups (or more to taste) vegetable broth
1 cup pureed tomatoes (from a can/carton/your jarred summer supply)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Toasted bread slices, poached eggs (tutorial), chopped herbs such as tarragon, parsley or chives or grated Parmesan or Romano to serve (optional)

Bring medium pot of salted water to boil. Cook chard (or any heavier green; no need to precook baby spinach) for one minute, then drain and squeeze out as much extra water as possible. Coarsely chop chard. [Deb note: These days I just thinly slice and add the uncooked greens directly to the stew, letting them wilt and cook in it. It can take 5 to 10 minutes, instead of just 5.]

Wipe out medium pot to dry it, and heat olive oil over medium. Add carrots, celery, shallots and garlic and saute for 15 minutes. Barber warns not to brown them but I didn’t mind a light golden color on them. Add wine (scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pot) and cook it until it reduced by three-fourths. Add beans, broth, tomatoes, a few pinches of salt, freshly ground black pepper, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add chard and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove thyme and bay leaf. Add more broth if you’d like a thinner stew and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serve as is drizzled with sherry vinegar. Or you can ladle the stew over thick piece of toasted country bread or baguette that has been rubbed lightly with half a clove of garlic, top that with a poached egg and a few drops of sherry vinegar and/or some grated cheese.

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leek, chard and corn flatbread – smitten kitchen

We are at the beach this week and even though there was a point when we were trying to pile the toddler, his 55 favorite toys including a full-sized tricycle, me, my 25 kitchen necessities including, apparently, a meat thermometer and the serrated peeler one of you told me about a few weeks ago that I now can’t live without, the beach towels, blankets, umbrellas, sandcastle-shaped bucket, toddler bed bars, a box of groceries and my husband (happy anniversary, baby!) in our little car that we thought we should really just stay home instead, it wasn’t long into our drive onto the North Fork, passing miles of farms, leave-your-money-in-the-box roadside blackberry stands, dilapidated barns, impeccably kept houses, and more grape vines than you could count in your lifetime that we were unwaveringly certain we were back where we were meant to be.

early north fork

It’s so quiet here that the days feel longer, virtually distraction-free. We’ve been beaching in the morning, adventuring with the toddler in the afternoons and cooking up a storm for dinner each night. We had a mash-up of Molly’s Dry-Rubbed Ribs and Harold McGee’s Oven Ribs (that I really have to reassemble here one day, with some streamlining) one night (with corn and an heirloom caprese), and last night, we had a tiny dinner party with friends that are in town with sugar steaks (a recipe I’ve only been promising you for a year), a crunchy Greek salad and this old favorite potato salad. Are you around? You should come over for dinner. We tend to make too much.

making pizza, eh, flatbread dough

I didn’t make this flatbread here but it would fit in perfectly would I want to repeat this dinner from last week. About a month ago, I saw the chard lined up next to the corn and leeks at a farm stand and couldn’t get the combination out of my head. It was the most mid-summery combination I could imagine and I debated assembling the three into a galette (but wasn’t in the mood for a buttery crust; am I broken?), pizza (but it would require more cheese than I thought necessary; ditto, broken?) and finally just decided to call it flatbread, though we’re still going to just use a pizza dough. So to make this as unnecessarily confusing as possible.

bi-color summer corn
rainbow chard
lots of chard will soon be very little
all sauteed together
ready to bake

These three ingredients cooked together play off each other fantastically; the leeks get deep and sweet; the chard wilts but retains its bulk and the corn kernels crunch across the top. I scattered the top with soft goat cheese, but you could just as easily soften it and spread it thinly under the ingredients, as we did here. Whatever you do, I implore you to make this before the endless piles of summer corn are a distant memory.

leek, corn and chard flatbread
leek, corn and chart flatbread

One year ago: Naked Tomato Sauce
Two years ago: Fresh Tomato Sauce
Three years ago: Tomato and Corn Pie
Four years ago: Crisp Rosemary Flatbread and Marinated Eggplant with Capers and Mint
Five years ago: Double Chocolate Torte

Leek, Corn and Chard Flatbread with Goat Cheese

I tend to make things with small yields that are easily scaled up, but this will yield two big flatbreads. (We find that one feeds the three of us for a light dinner, unless the toddler has an unusually large appetite. Then things get ugly.) Honestly, I was trying to scale the recipe to the size these vegetables are typically sold in. (I.e. Wouldn’t half an ear of corn be an annoying amount?) Nevertheless, you can of course half this recipe, but the good news is, if you don’t, we found this reheated really nicely for a second dinner. We ate it with a tomato salad, and one of the nights, we had some leftover chicken, too.

Should you have a grill at your disposal, I think this would make an unbelievable grilled flatbread. Here’s how: Prepare your filling and set it aside. Roll or stretch out your doughs. Get your grill going at a high temperature and brush the grates with oil. Throw the first raw dough down right on them. After a few minutes, it will be black and blistered underneath. Flip it off the grill, landing it ungrilled (top) side down on a platter. Spread half the filling over it and slide it back on the grill for 5 to 7 minutes with the top down, until charred slightly at the edges. Repeat with remaining filling and dough. Invite me over.

Because this tends to irk me in other recipes, it’s only fair that I warn you that the toppings will not glue to the flatbread. To do so would require a lot of melty cheese or wetter ingredients and really, this is delightful with neither. You can pick up squares with your hand (but no handsprings, okay?) or eat them with knife and fork. The flavors taste like they were always meant to be together, and if you’re me, you’ll miss it long after you’ve finished your leftovers.

Makes 2 large (9x13ish inches) flatbreads

About 1 1/2 pounds pizza dough (from two of these, or store-bought)

1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 large leeks (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 12-ounce bundle chard or about 6 cups (6 ounces) of leaves, cut into 1/2-inch ribbons
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh corn kernels (cut from 1 to 2 medium ears corn)
Cornmeal, for sprinkling baking surface
4-ounce goat cheese log, cold

Trim the ends off your leeks and halve them lengthwise. Cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch half-rings. Fill a medium bowl with very cold water and drop in sliced leeks. Swish them around with your fingers, letting any sandy dirt fall to the bottom. Scoop out the leeks and drain them briefly on a towel, but no need to get them fully dry. Do the same with your chard ribbons, but you can leave the leaves on towels until they’re nearly fully dry, while you cook the leeks.

Heat your oven to 450 degrees.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add butter and oil and once they’re fully melted and a bit sizzly, add the leek slices. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and cook leek for 10 to 13 minutes, stirring occasionally. Raise heat back to medium, add the chard ribbons and cook until they wilt, about 4 minutes. Season mixture with salt and freshly ground black pepper, adding more if needed. Finally, add your corn kernels, cooking them with the leeks and chard for just another minute.

Sprinkle two baking sheets with cornmeal. If you have pesky old baking trays like I do, and your breads really like to stick to them, I find things will release more reliably if you first lightly spray them with an oil before sprinkling on the cornmeal. Roll or stretch half your dough into a rectangular-ish shape (flatbreads are prettiest when they’re irregularly shaped, in my humble opinion) and arrange it on the prepared sheet. Spread half the leek-corn-chard mixture on it. Sprinkle it with half the log of goat cheese, crumbled into small bits.

Bake flatbread in oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges of the bread begin to brown slightly (they might brown more deeply in a better oven than they did in my lousy one). Repeat with remaining dough, filling and goat cheese.

To serve, slide each flatbread onto a cutting board and cut into 8 rectangles. Serve immediately.

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pancetta, white bean and chard pot pies – smitten kitchen

For the last month or so, my cookbook had been on a boat, an image which delighted me to no end. I pictured it heading to a dock at the edge of a continent, like Arya at the end of Book 3 of Game of Thrones, and hoping that someone would give it passage. I imagined it splashing through waters rough and calm on a long journey, like the one depicted in Lost and Found. And then I imagined it arriving at the shipping docks, unloaded by the likes of handsome Nick Sobotka in Season 2 of The Wire (er, hopefully under happier circumstances), its container being fitted to trucks or rail cars and heading to a warehouse where it would tap its feet impatiently until October 30th arrived and it could finally come out and see you.

And now you know the truth: the inside of my head mostly looks like pages from picture books and scenes from HBO. I don’t know how I hid it so long.

pretty, pretty rainbow chard
pancetta, chard and bean pot pie prep

The first printing did indeed arrive at a warehouse in Maryland last week, but lest you think authorship has any privileges, I have seen but three copies of the book, one that I was allowed to hold briefly on QVC, one that was quickly snatched up by my parents, and a third one disappeared at my husband’s office for a while. The good news is, nobody hates it. The bad news is, people are kind of mad at me. “When did you make this and why didn’t we get any?” they ask and oh man, scrambling for answers is getting uncomfortable. My husband asked me this about a vegetarian taco dish that the babysitter and I completely inhaled the second I got the photo I needed, and decided to keep this information to ourselves. (Soo busted.) There’s a potato salad I didn’t share at all, just tucked away in the fridge and had for lunch for a perfect few days. (I’m not sorry.) And the giant pancake? Well, it’s not my fault that the toddler was too smart to share it all eight times I made it for him for breakfast.

under the pot pie lid, a hearty fall stew

pot pies, almost ready to bake
bean and chard pot pies, from the oven

However, there is one dish that my husband pauses and sighs, remembering favorably, just about every time it comes up, and that is this one, Pancetta, White Bean and Swiss Chard Pot Pies. It spun out of my firm belief that if you’re limiting you pot pies to chicken, well, you’re missing some excellent opportunities. Pot pies, at their core, are the ultimate cooler weather comfort food and what makes them grand has little, in my opinion, to do with chicken. Beneath the lid is a velouté-like sauce, which is a fancy way of saying a broth that’s been thickened and enriched a little with a butter-flour roux. In short: it’s broth made much more decadent, and just about anything you add to it will be made ten times as delicious by its environment. In this case, I wanted an earthy fall stew, with some greens, beans and a little pancetta for smoky richness, though you can absolutely skip the pancetta if you’re looking for a vegetarian dish. The lid is the flakiest pastry I know how to make and together in the oven, your pies will bubble and bronze their way to an unforgettable dinner, the kind of thing, in individual portions, that’d be mean not to share. Especially if people will eventually find out.

four pot pies that want to be your dinner

Big book-signing news!: As excited as I am to get the book tour started, I, too, am bummed that I’m not going to be able to do signings in all of the cities I would like this fall. There isn’t enough time. There isn’t enough me! So, we have been working feverishly behind the scenes to find an arrangement that would allow people who cannot get to a tour destination to buy a copy full of my chicken scrawl signed by me. We’ve teamed with the delightful McNally-Jackson bookstore in Soho and they have created a custom ordering page wherein you can request your personal inscription. If you order by Wednesday, October 24th, the book will ship on its release date of October 30th. Order by Tuesday, December 4th to receive in time for Hanukkah and by Thursday, December 20th to receive in time for Christmas. Quantities are limited by, frankly, my crazy travel schedule this fall but if for whatever reason there’s no way I will be able to keep up with the orders (and yes, I would absolutely file this under Good Problems To Have!) we will let you know. Whee! [Here’s the page with everything you need to know.]

Book previews: This is the third of four cookbook previews I am sharing on the site in advance of its publication date, October 30th. The first was Cinnamon Toast French Toast and the second was Fig, Olive Oil and Sea Salt Challah. I wouldn’t say I’m saving the best for last (these recipes are like children; I could never have a favorite!) but oh man, the one that comes next has been almost unbearable to know about for two years and not tell you yet. You can sneak another preview in a few publications, such as The New York Times, which ran an adaptation of the book’s Leek Fritters over the summer. O Magazine ran an adaptation of one of the book’s birthday cakes for grown-ups this month and over on Amazon, you can already thumb through the book. But promise you won’t yell at me, okay? I really did mean to share.

Two years ago: Apple and Cheddar Scones
Three years ago: Jalapeno and Cheddar Scones
Four years ago: Acorn Squash Quesadillas and My Family’s Noodle Kugel
Five years ago: Hello Dolly Bars and Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette
Six years ago: Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons

Pancetta, White Bean and Swiss Chard Pot Pies
From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

The pancetta, while adding a lovely, smoky base, can be omitted to make this vegetarian. In fact, I went back and forth many, many times about removing it so that this could stay in the vegetarian section, but in the end, decided it easier I leave the choice to you. For a vegetarian version, simply skip the pancetta and cook your vegetables in 2 tablespoons olive oil instead of 1. You can replace the swiss chard with any green you have around, from a hearty spinach to kale, adjusting the cooking time accordingly to make sure it wilts a bit before going into the oven to finish cooking.

As you can see from the photos, I really don’t own soup crocks. I have debated the value of purchasing some many times of the years, but you must trust me when I say I don’t have room for a single extra dish I don’t already own in my life right now. Instead, I just use two-cup bowls we already have that are ovenproof. (When buying a dish set, I always look to see if they are ovenproof, as you never know when this will come in handy.) If you don’t have ovenproof soup bowls, you can always make a large version of this in a casserole dish with one big pastry lid.

Weekday night tip: Make a double batch of the stew and lids. Keep them separate and for two to three nights, you can ladle what you’d like into bowls, roll out lids and bake them to order.

Serves 4

2 cups (250 grams) all- purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
13 tablespoons (185 grams or 1 stick plus 5 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, diced
6 tablespoons (90 grams) sour cream or whole Greek yogurt (i.e., a strained
1 tablespoon (15 ml) white wine vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) ice water
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
4 ounces (115 grams or 3/4 to 1 cup) 1/4-inch-diced pancetta
1 large or 2 small onions, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 large stalk celery, finely chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
Thinly sliced Swiss chard leaves from an 8- to 10-ounce (225- to 285-gram)
bundle (4 cups); if leaves are very wide, you can halve them lengthwise
3 1/2 tablespoons (50 grams) butter
3 1/2 tablespoons (25 grams) all- purpose flour
3 1/2 cups (765 ml) sodium- free or low- sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups white beans, cooked and drained, or from one and a third 15.5- ounce
(440-gram) cans

Make lids: In a large, wide bowl (preferably one that you can get your hands into), combine the fl our and salt. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut them up and into the flour mixture until it resembles little pebbles. Keep breaking up the bits of butter until the texture is like uncooked couscous. In a small dish, whisk together the sour cream, vinegar, and water, and combine it with the butter-flour mixture. Using a flexible spatula, stir the wet and the dry together until a craggy dough forms. If needed, get your hands into the bowl to knead it a few times into one big ball. Pat it into a flattish ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it in the fridge for 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Make filling: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium- high heat in a large, wide saucepan, and then add the pancetta. Brown the pancetta, turning it frequently, so that it colors and crisps on all sides; this takes about 10 minutes. Remove it with a slotted spoon, and drain it on paper towels before transferring to a medium bowl. Leave the heat on and the renderings in the pan. Add an additional tablespoon of olive oil if needed and heat it until it is shimmering. Add onions, carrot, celery, red pepper flakes, and a few pinches of salt, and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are softened and begin to take on color, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute more. Add the greens and cook until wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with the additional salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Transfer all of the cooked vegetables to the bowl with the pancetta, and set aside.

Make sauce: Wipe out the large saucepan; don’t worry if any bits remain stuck to the bottom. Then melt the butter in the saucepan over medium- low heat. Add the flour, and stir with a whisk until combined. Continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring the whole time, until it begins to take on a little color. Whisk in the broth, one ladleful at a time, mixing completely between additions. Once you’ve added one- third of the broth, you can begin to add the rest more quickly, two to three ladlefuls at a time; at this point you can scrape up any bits that were stuck to the bottom — they’ll add great flavor.

Once all of the broth is added, stirring the whole time, bring the mixture to a boil and reduce it to a simmer. Cook the sauce until it is thickened and gravylike, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir the white beans and reserved vegetables into the sauce.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Assemble and cook pot pies: Divide the filling between four ovenproof 2-cup bowls. (You’ll have about 1 1/2 cups filling in each.) Set the bowls on a baking pan. Divide the dough into four pieces, and roll it out into rounds that will cover your bowls with an overhang, or about 1 inch wider in diameter than your bowls. Whisk the egg wash and brush it lightly around the top rim of your bowls (to keep the lid glued on; nobody likes losing their lid!) and drape the

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lentil soup with sausage, chard and garlic – smitten kitchen

Every year around this time — well into the winter season, but long after we found it charmingly brisk, as it is when you do googly-eyed things like ice skating around a sparkling tree at the holidays — we get some sort of brittle cold snap in the weather that catches me by surprise. Even though we live in New York, a place where a cold snap or two a January is as predictable as being hosed by some unspeakably awful puddle of street juice slush by a car spinning through an intersection; even though I’ve lived in this exact climate for every one of my thirty-I-don’t-want-to-talk-about-it years; and even though I have the audacity to look forward to winter every sticky concrete-steaming summer, when I walk outside on that first 20-degree day and the wind gusts into my face and renders it hard to exhale, the very first thing I do is audibly holler in rage and disbelief, “WHAT THE WHAT?” I am nothing — as we joke when my sweet little son tries to clomp down the hallway in his dad’s massive boots and immediately falls on his tush — if not Harvard Material.

all of this + 24 degrees outside: let's go!

Weeks like the one we’re having on the East Coast require their own bourbon cocktail plane tickets to someplace tropical and child-free, uh, family-friendly elixir and although I’ve previously found comfort in such meal intensities as lasagna bolognese, chili and mushroom and noodles, glorified, I think this year’s pick — a hearty Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard and Garlic trumps them all. It hails from the new cookbook from the guy behind one of the first food blogs I ever read, and still do, The Amateur Gourmet. I think you should buy it right this very second. Why? Because in it, Adam Roberts does what he does best — schmooze with great chefs and get them to spill the dirt, all in the name of making us better home cooks.

[He’s also good at this with less famous, non-chefs, such as yours truly, when he got me to confess to a packed room last month my top-secret, totally-un-PC method of getting toddlers to occasionally eat what you’d like them to, not that I’d be crazy enough to let that happen twice.]

the easiest simmer

To write this book, Adam travelled all over the country to visit chefs in their work or home kitchens with a reporter’s notebook and jotted down everything. He learned all sorts of goodies such as why Sara Moulton says you should steel your knives before starting to chop things and how you can tell without sniffing or tasting (or crossing your fingers) whether your butter is still good. Oh, and he’s just getting started. Reading this on a lazy Saturday afternoon before my son decided to start his still ongoing nap strike [our household internal dialogue is something like this right now: noooooooo], I was enrapt as I learned the secret of Jonathan Waxman’s technique for tossing salad and how Alice Water’s “crown” of fresh herbs can make even the simplest olive oil-fried eggs heavenly, plus a font of tips he picked up through observation, such as how chefs manage to use their produce before it gets forgotten and goes bad to (still shocking to me) how sparingly most of them used freshly ground black pepper.

rainbow chard

What none of these tips — delightfully, refreshingly — aim to do is intensify the gap between restaurant chefs and home cooks. There’s nobody on a high horse, rolling their eyes at people who prefer to cook from recipes or who benefit from (gasp!) suggested measurements of seasonings. I had very few opportunities to take part in my own eye-rolling-at-chef-recipes pastime, such as when they expect you to use four skillets and eight prep bowls to make a single soup. No, instead this book’s stated goal would, in an ideal world, be the stated goal of every cookbook on the shelves, to be “a prompt, a catalyst for self-reliance in the kitchen.” That it also yielded one of the most delicious, hearty soups that’s ever graced a frigid January day was just the cherry sizzling garlic oil on top.

lentil soup with sausage, chard, garlic

One year ago: Buckwheat Baby with Salted Caramel Syrup
Two years ago: Pizza with Bacon, Onions and Cream and Baked Potato Soup
Three years ago: Poppy Seed Lemon Cake, Black Bean Soup + Toasted Cumin Seed Crema and Cranberry Syrup (+ An Intensely Almond Cake)
Four years ago: Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew, Vanilla Almond Rice Pudding, Light Wheat Bread, Clementine Cake, Mushroom Bourguignon, Sugar Puffs and Smashed Chickpea Salad
Five years ago: Crunchy Baked Pork Chops, Pickled Carrot Sticks and Chicken Caesar Salad
Six years ago: World Peace Cookies, Salade Lyonnaise, Artichoke Ravioli and Leek and Mushroom Quiche

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swiss chard pancakes – smitten kitchen

I read about French farçous pancakes for the first time on Friday morning and by lunchtime I was eating them. As my usual process of funneling the hundreds of recipe ideas swarming around in my head into a single one worth sharing is an exercise in exasperation involving extensive considerations of how I’d like to approach something, ingredient availability, time availability, estimated number of rounds it will take to get said recipe right, scanning my worry meter over all the places I suspect it might flop, number of stores to get to find ingredients, all interspersed with baby feedings, and overdue items on an forever-long to-do list, getting from “yes I want to make this” to “eating it” in a little over an hour alone makes this the best thing I’ve made this year.

what you'll need
into the blender

It also ticked off several other boxes: Lunch? Dinner? Vegetables? Protein? Quick? Forgiving? Flexible? Fun to eat? Check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check. And a few I hadn’t expected, such as a 6 year-old spying these very green pancakes in the fridge, requesting one, and then another. (I won’t tell him there’s Swiss chard in there if you don’t.) I only poured out about half the batter on Friday, but it keeps just fine in the fridge for a few days, if you’d like to make it over a few days. The pancakes also freeze very well, which is good, as it makes a lot.

chard leaves
pretty batter, bad nailpolish situation

Unsurprisingly, such a magical, works-the-first-time recipe hails from Dorie Greenspan via her Around My French Table cookbook, which is full additional unfussy French home cooking delights, things like Spur-Of-The-Moment Soup and Hurry-Up-And-Wait Chicken. But this is my new favorite. Farçous hail from Aveyron, France in the southwest and they have the texture of a thick crepe. There’s no melted butter or leavening in them, just a simple batter of eggs, flour, and milk with as much green stuff as you desire to blend into them (a mix of herbs, onion, garlic and greens is the norm). Swiss chard is the usual leafy green, but there’s no reason you can’t do it with spinach or kale. I used scallions in lieu of fresh onion and chives (as my herb garden up and froze on me the night before, sob).

swiss chard pancakes

In France, they’re served as a main course with salad, but around here, we found a dollop of lemony yogurt to be the perfect contrast. Were I planning more than 15 minutes ahead, I’d also make a batch of David Lebovitz’s carrot salad alongside, a longtime favorite of ours. Were I putting the Smitten Kitchen spin on it I was itching to, but for once, chose the least fussy route, I’d have crossed it with the saag paneer I’ve been craving all month, but that would have certainly put off how soon we got to enjoy these. So, here’s to dinner tonight (sorted!) and more straightforward good stuff like this.

swiss chard pancakes

One year ago: Mushroom Marsala Pasta Bake
Two years ago: Coconut Tapioca Pudding with Mango
Three years ago: Ethereally Smooth Hummus
Four years ago: Apple Sharlotka
Five years ago: Pizza with Bacon, Onions and Cream
Six years ago: Caramel Pudding and Barley Risotto with Beans and Greens
Seven years ago: Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew
Eight years ago: Lemon Bars and Crunch Baked Pork Chops
Nine years ago: Balthazar’s Cream of Mushroom Soup and World Peace Cookies

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Very Blueberry Scones
1.5 Years Ago: Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches
2.5 Years Ago: Grilled Bacon Salad with Arugula and Balsamic
3.5 Years Ago: Bacon Corn Hash
4.5 Years Ago: Flatbreads with Honey, Thyme and Sea Salt

Swiss Chard Pancakes [Farçous]
Adapted, just a little, from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table

As mentioned above, this is very flexible recipe. Once you have the milk, flour and egg base in place, you can add the suggested combination of onions, herbs and greens below or one more suited to your tastes/what you have in the fridge right now. We used a most of a bundle of scallions (white and green) instead of onion and chives. I used only one garlic clove.

2 cups (475 ml) whole milk
2 1/2 cups (325 grams) all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
10 fresh chives, snipped
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped
Leaves from 10 parsley sprigs
5 large or 10 small Swiss chard leaves, center ribs removed, roughly chopped
About 1/2 cup (120 ml) grapeseed, peanut, vegetable, or olive oil

To serve: Plain, thick yogurt mixed with a little lemon zest, lemon juice and salt, to taste

If you’d like to keep your finished pancakes warm while you cook them: Heat oven to 250 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil.

Make the batter: Put everything except the Swiss chard and oil in a blender or food processor and whirl until the batter is smooth. Scrape down sides. Add chard leaves and pulse machine until they’re chopped to your desired consistency.

Cook the pancakes: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and pour in a good puddle (1/4-inch deep) of oil. Once oil is hot enough that a droplet of batter hisses and sputters, spoon about 3 tablespoons batter in per pancake. It will spread quickly. Cook until browned underneath and (the edges will scallop, adorably), then flip, cooking on the other side until browned again. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, and then, if you’d like to keep them warm, to the foil-lined tray in the oven.

Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with lemony yogurt or another sauce of your choice.

Do ahead: Unused batter keeps in fridge for 3 days. Finished pancakes keep in fridge for a couple days, and will freeze much longer. Separate pancakes with pieces of waxed or parchment paper so they don’t glue together.

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