Chard and Summer White Bean Ragout

Chard_Rhubarb

I hate to admit it but we’re the Kelsey Grammer of market gardens. Which is to say, we’re typecast. Like Kelsey playing the same character across three different sitcoms, we’re at our best when growing greens. Sure people come to us for a lot of things like carrots, beets, broccoli and such, but our regulars, the folks who come every week and who’ve been with us for months now, all come for our greens.. We’ve been strong with greens from the very start, opening our first market, way back in April, with three kales, two types of spinach, mizuna, tatsoi and lettuce. Latter we were one of very few growers with Broccoli Rabe (rapin), which sold great. Over the summer, we’ve kept up with our three kales and might be the only one still bringing spinach. We’ve had to step down to a single spinach variety but we’re still there and it sells out every week. Recently, with summer blazing, we’ve added chard to the lineup. We’ve had it at market for the last five weeks or so and as we’ve come to expect from our wonderfully greens-centric customers, it’s sold great.

Chard_Stems

Chard is a lot like spinach; light, mild and meaty. It can be eaten either raw or cooked. Like spinach, if you cook it, take care. They both over cook easily. For all their similarities, chard is much easier to grow than spinach in the summer. Summer spinach is a notorious pain in the ass. It will not germinate outside in the summer and bolts almost instantly in hot weather. The only way around this is to do near constant transplanting. Chard is much more forgiving. It tolerates heat well and doesn’t need as much water as spinach. We grow our chard from June through the first frost. This year we’ll try to extend the season until the end of October (our last farmers’ market) by protecting it under low hoops and greenhouse plastic. Like most greens, chard is harvested in a cut and come again style. We cut the large outer leaves, allowing the small, younger leaves to grow up from the middle.

Recently I’ve been trying to cook healthier and this super-yummy recipe has been one of my grander successes. Two things about it spring to mind. First, it’s oil-free. Don’t get me wrong, I love my extra virgin olive oil (EVO) and I use it a lot. That being said, if you don’t need it, why include it. There are 120 calories in a tablespoon of EVO and the tablespoons add up quickly. Second, this recipe uses a corn stock. Since discovering this corn stock, I’ve been using it all over the place instead of my once standard poultry stock. I find it to be every bit as flavorful and quite a bit lighter than the meat version. I take food and cooking very seriously and a lot of the time meatless recipes seem to be about compromise and sacrifice. Things like this corn stock allow me to stay true to more traditional cooking and to live a more plant-strong lifestyle without flavor compromise.

Chard_Beans

Chard and White Bean Ragout

A very delicious, healthy, oil-free recipe

ingredients

  • 1 lb cooked Cannellini beans
  • 1 lb fresh chard, leaves chopped, include the center rib but not the stems
  • 2 ears fresh corn
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lemon
  • sea salt

method

First start the corn stock. Husk the corn ears and being careful not to wound yourself, cut the corn kernels from their cobs. Add the cobs to 4 cups lightly salted water. Bring the stock to a very light boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
When the stock in finished, add the onion to a saucepan with the bay leaf and oregano. Add a 1/4 cup corn stock and steep for 5 minutes. Add the beans and another cup of corn stock. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chard, cover the pan and simmer for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat, season with sea salt. Add any remaining oregano leaves, a few scrapes of lemon zest and lemon juice to taste. Serve hot.

2 comments to Chard and Summer White Bean Ragout

  • Audrey

    Sounds delicious! And being typecast as greens specialists is not a bad thing–your chard is gorgeous!

  • Anna

    Amazingly refreshing and easily turned into a soup, I ate it for lunch three days in a row, because I wanted to. I had some extra corn and threw that in along with a few cloves of garlic to fight off the vampires. The lemon zest is fantastic, the fresh oregano unique. After a couple of twists on the fresh pepper mill, I sat down to this nutrient dense meal and reveled in its simplicity.

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