The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Grilled Lamb And Pomegranate Swiss Chard

September 8th, 2009 · No Comments · Posted in dinner, garden, Recipes

One of our favorite vegetables: ruby Swiss chard

One of our favorite vegetables: ruby Swiss chard

Forgive me garden mother for I have neglected my Swiss chard.

We consider chard one of our most reliable vegetables. It marches through almost any kind of weather and doesn’t seem to mind how many times you harvest: It just grows back. We usually plant the ruby variety of chard but this year planted some green chard as well. They were in an unfortunate location, however, in a narrow alley created by a leaning stand of sunflowers. The green chard attracted a family of gold finches, which could frequently be heard twittering away. They perched on the sunflower stems to nibble on the chard leaves.

So I neglected the chard and focused on green beans and tomatoes and okra. That changed last night when our friends Michael and Michelle dropped by for an overnight visit. It seemed like a good time to grill one of the butterflied legs of lamb that have been on sale at Whole Foods. Our favorite chard treatment–braised with red onion and dressed with pomegranate molasses—sounded like a great side.

Pomegranate molasses as the name implies is a kind of syrupy version of the juice from the pomegranate fruit. It’s available in Middle Eastern stores in a short bottle and I use it straight up. It pairs well with the slightly sweet, beet-like flavor of the ruby chard. This is a no-fuss dish with a rather spectacular result.

Simply cut the whole stems–with leaves–from one or two chard plants. Soak them in the kitchen sink to remove any dirt. Meanwhile, sweat a red onion, roughly chopped, in some olive oil in a heavy pot. Shake most of the water off the chard and cut it into one-inch pieces, leaves and all. When the onion is softened, drop the chard in the pot. The residual water on the chard will be plenty to do the cooking. Just season with salt.

Cook the chard over low heat until it is quite tender, about 45 minutes. If there is too much liquid, you can drain it off. Then pour in about two tablespoons pomegranate molasses, or to taste.

We grilled the lamb over very hot coals. I had meant to throw some rosemary branches over the coals, but forgot. I think the smoke from the rosemary would impart a great flavor, if I can only remember to do it. Cook the lamb to medium rare, then let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Along with the braised chard, we served platters of Italian squash carpaccio: thinly sliced squash dressed with olive oil and salt, goat cheese and a chiffonade of anise hyssop. We had another platter of freshly picked tomatoes, sliced and dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and a chiffonade of basil. Finally I heated some of the terrific curried-okra stew with coconut milk and sweet potato leaves that we like so much.

We washed it all down with a fine bottle of Malbec wine.

That’s how we finished out Labor Day weekend. It’s so nice when people stay over and give us an excuse to assemble a great meal from the garden.

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