I will not tell you how, because he was our first, we were unbuckling the giant rear-facing carseat and lugging that giant monstrosity into the fancy steak place. (No, not the kind that snaps into/out from a base with a handle so that you can sling the sleeping baby, still buckled, over your arm like a basket. The other kind of rear-facing car seat that can eventually be turned around and used as a front-facing car seat. We were dumb. First kid.) Let's just say that I felt exceedingly out of my element. And the food was delicious and the company was convivial.
I had creamed spinach as my side because, even though I was ravenous all the time, I couldn't see paying that much money for a baked potato. Baked potatoes I can do at home. But creamed spinach . . . that was something I hadn't made before. I always like to order things I don't try at home.
I love creamed spinach. My mom used to make a cheater version with a box of frozen spinach and a can of cream of mushroom soup that was da bomb. If creamed spinach could be da bomb to a kid. Well, the taste memory of it is da bomb to me--it wasn't too rich like most creamed spinach I eat these days.
It surprises me that, as much as I grow Swiss chard and get Swiss chard from my farm share, therefore I've got piles of Swiss chard waiting to be used at any given time, I never thought about making creamed Swiss chard.
But for some reason--um, I'm blogging about how I feed the family from the farm share, that's the reason ;) --I decided to try my hand at creamed Swiss chard. I got inspired by this recipe but veered off course a tiny bit to use what I had on hand. As usual.
The recipe is pretty easy to make-I worked it so that I cooked everything in one saucepan, which kept the dishes down. We ate it alongside a flank steak and rice because I remembered that fancy steak dinner. We don't normally eat steak. The interesting thing to me was what I did with the leftovers. I'll blog about that in another post, but let me just say 'mock lasagna' and leave it at that. Well, I'll tease you at the end.
|I'm ready for my onion, now.|
|I was thinking I'd never get this pot clean.|
|Then poof, a little liquid and some whisking and it's all turned into seasoned white sauce!|
Creamed Swiss Chard with Back Bacon
1 large bunch Swiss chard (I had about 10 18-24 inch long stalks, should that be 1 bunch large chard?)
1 piece back bacon, diced
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 clove roasted garlic (see here how I put up my garlic)
2 Tablespoons butter (I used a buttery blend)
2 Tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup half and half
salt, pepper, and nutmeg
Heat a large saucepan nearly 1/2 full of water over medium-high heat. Separate chard stems from the leaves. Chop the stems into bite-sized pieces and add to the water. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes while you slice the chard leaves into thin ribbons. Add the leaves to the pot and simmer another couple of minutes, until bright green and tender. Drain and leave in colander to dry.
In the same saucepan, over medium heat, sauté bacon a few minutes then add onion and continue until the bacon is crisp and the onion is softened. While the bacon is cooking, thinly slice the roasted garlic. Add the garlic the bacon-onion mixture and then set the mixture aside.
In the same saucepan, again over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk it together. At this point you're thinking that you'll never get the saucepan clean. Add the half and half, whisk, and watch all that browned bit goodness become incorporated into your sauce as it thickens. Add a couple of passes of nutmeg over the microplane grater (or a healthy pinch), a healthy pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Whisk to combine spices. Squeeze the chard in the colander until no moisture is released (I just use my hand). Add the chard and the bacon mixture to the saucepan. Stir to combine.
Serve--but don't worry if there are leftovers. I've got some suggestions . . .
|Yes, the leftover creamed chard went into this!|