Ground Lamb with Swiss Chard

I am blessed to have access to a Winter Farmer’s Market between January and March. I am further blessed that I can get not only hearty root veggies but fresh, locally grown, greens like kale and salad mix. This recipe is inspired by the ground lamb and Swiss chard I picked up last weekend.

Ground Lamb with Swiss Chard
Servings: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. Penzey’s Mural of Flavor spice blend
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 8 oz. Swiss chard, stemmed and cut into 1″x2″ pieces
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • plain white rice
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Add oil to a non-stick skillet and heat on high until the oil shimmers. Add the ground lamb, breaking up in to smaller chunks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, breaking the chunks down into smaller pieces as the meat warms up and becomes more manageable.
  2. When the meat is mostly cooked through drain excess oil so that you have about a tablespoon left in the pan. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt and stir to incorporate. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Onions should soften but not brown.
  3. Add the garlic, stir and cook until fragrant; about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the tomato paste and spices. Stir until combined with the meat and cook for about 1 minute.
  5. Add the Swiss chard, sprinkle with salt and cover the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, stir to combine with the meat and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste the chard for doneness. Continue cooking if needed; if ready add the lemon zest/juice and toss together to coat. Adjust the seasoning as desired.
  6. Serve over plain white rice.

Notes:
You don’t really need the oil as ground lamb tends to be a bit fatty however you need something in the non-stick skillet while you preheat it.

Be sure to rinse your Swiss chard well and spin it dry. Since we want to wilt the chard it doesn’t need to be bone dry; a little dampness on the leaves will help them cook faster.

If the skillet seems a little dry when checking the chard half way through cooking add a tablespoon or two of water before slapping the skillet back on the pan. The steam will help the chard cook.

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Saturday night – 02/21/2015

A random butternut squash I found in the closet, purchased in November and set aside in a cool dark place, was the basis for the menu this week. A friend asked about the lasagna recipe a month or so ago, reminding me of it and sett[bread that is not a king cake]ing in place a desire to make it again. Everything else sort of fell into place after that.

Menu
Butternut Squash Lasagna
Chicken Thighs with Baked Onions
Butter Beans with Tomato
“Bread that is not a king cake”

“dessert that is not ants-on-a-log” (see note)

 

Notes under the cut

Drop biscuits

[drop biscuits]Sometimes I feel the need for something a little extra to go with your meal and nothing beats a freshly made biscuit in my book. It takes longer for the oven preheat than it does to prepare this recipe, including the time to melt and cool the butter. No rolling pin required; if you don’t have disher then a couple of spoons will work just fine.
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Saturday night – 02/14/2015

Mid-February is always a good time for pancake-a-go-go on a Saturday night. Breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite things. Add a little birthday cake for a special teenager and you have the makings for a wonderful meal.

Menu
3 batches of Alton Brown’s “Instant Pancakes” with real maple syrup and “pancake” syrup
Bacon and sausages
Watermelon, papaya, and red grape fruit salad

Yellow cake with mixed-fruit filling and chocolate ganache

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Notes under the cut

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Here’s another recipe from our Holiday party earlier this year. It was a great companion to the Curried Rice and Chickpea Salad.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Servings: 8-12
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 3 hours (or overnight)

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups dried black eyed peas, soaked overnight
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 1 lg. lime)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 10 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 can petite diced tomato, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 English cucumber, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 fresno chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Start by cooking the black-eyed peas. After soaking overnight drain and rinse. Then place peas in a large pot with 3 quarts fresh water as well as the bay leaves and garlic. Bring to a simmer, cover partially, and cook for 30-35 minutes until the peas are just tender. Turn off the heat, stir in the table salt, cover and allow to rest for 15 more minutes. Drain and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet to cool, at least 2 hours.
  2. In a bowl large enough for the entire salad whisk the oil into lime juice. Add the parsley, a generous pinch of kosher salt and 10 grinds of black pepper.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well until the dressing thoroughly coats the salad. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least an hour. Better yet refrigerate overnight. Can be served straight from the fridge or at room temperature.

Notes:
Any neutral flavored oil can be used, such as canola or safflower, in place of vegetable.

When tomatoes are locally available substitute 1 large or 2 medium tomatoes which you have cored, seeded and roughly chopped. No need to remove the skin.

This recipe is based on one from the July 2013 issue of Saveur magazine.

Chicken and Pork Stew

I came across the basis for this recipe a couple of years ago on the King Arthur Flour blog flourish. I made it as they suggested and found it a bit bland. A bit of cayenne pepper helped however I thought I could do more with it.

On this retry I used the remainder from a pack of bacon plus an odd bit of kielbasa we had sitting in the fridge to boost the meatiness. The celery went in to add a bit of bulk.

[Chicken and Port Stew]

Chicken and Port Stew on toasted potato bread


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