A Beautiful Green

Swiss chard can compete for most beautiful vegetable.  The vibrant, brightly colored stalks always pleasantly surprise me when I pull them out.  Not many other vegetables have the same range of hues–pinks, reds, yellow, dark green.  Swiss chard is one of those vegetables that always seduces me at the farmer’s market–I buy it for the color…who doesn’t like pretty vegetables?

For my precious Swiss chard, I chose a recipe from Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now. I love this cookbook–I courted it from the library for about three months before giving in and buying it.  It follows the year month by month and provides seasonal recipes.  Basically, it is a one-stop shop for creative delicious recipes for my farm box.  The “Bulgur Pilaf with Swiss Chard and Dried Apricots” is a Turkish-inspired recipe with a surprising flavor.

I had never cooked bulgur before, but was excited to give it a try.  As soon as I tasted it, I realized why I had never cooked it before.  I don’t like bulgur.  Or to be more precise, I thought I didn’t like bulgur.  I think I have had one too many bad taboulis at Middle Eastern restaurants.  This freshly cooked bulgur with cinnamon and apricots was superb.  I even put some of the grain mixture aside for the baby to eat, which she happily gobbled up all week.

Bulgur “Pilaf” with Swiss Chard and Dried Apricots

From Cook This Now by Melissa Clark

1 cup bulgar

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup roughly chopped raw pistachios (I used pine nuts)

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped (I used the onion that was in my farm box that week)

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves chopped (I kept some stems, too pretty to trash)

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Freshly squeezed lemon juice or pomegranate molasses (I used the molasses, what else am I using it for?)

1. Bring pot of salted water to boil. Add the bulgur and cinnamon and cook for about 9 minutes.  Add the apricots and cook until bulgur is tender.  Drain well and discard the cinnamon.  (I accidentally cooked for too long, but it worked out fine…the water just evaporated).

Bulgur + Cinnamon

2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter.  Add the nuts, cumin, and some salt.  Cook, stirring until golden brown.  Transfer to a bowl.  (I usually don’t waste time by transferring to a separate bowl, but this was well worth the extra step).

Following the directions to use butter

3. Wipe out the skillet (yes, still worth the extra time) with a paper towel.  Return it to medium heat and add oil, garlic, and shallot.  Add the charge, the remaining salt, and cook until chard is wilted.  Melissa Clark says this should take about 3 minutes, but it took closer to 10 for my chard.  Stir in the bulgur mixture and the nuts.  Toss over heat until warmed through.  Transfer to plates and drizzle.  Top with a fried egg to make it a full meal.

Lovely looking vegetable

Didn’t I say it was lovely

Adding pomegranate molasses to the dish

With egg on top!

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