Rainbow Chard

 

Isn’t it lovely? 

Rainbow chard is most definitely my favourite garden crop this year.  It’s very pretty, easy to grow, delicious and very good for me.  What’s not to love? 

The vast majority of my homegrown chard has been cooked simply in olive oil with a little garlic and a little chilli but I’ve also used it in a delicious vegetable lasagne, another Ord Bann inspired dish.

I’m not going to write a detailed recipe as I’m short on time today.  Anyway, the individual elements of this dish are very straight-forward: all you really need to know is how I put it all together.  So here it is:

  • Layers, obviously, are seperated by lasagne sheets.  I made my own this time in order to get very thin sheets.  Dried sheets would make the dish a bit heavier but would still work fine.
  • Layer 1 – Strips of roasted pepper and chunks of goat’s cheese
  • Layer 2 – Chopped chard sauteed (stalks need longer than leaves) in olive oil and garlic with a good sprinkling of walnuts.
  • Repeat these layers and top with a thick bechamel sauce and a scattering of goat’s cheese.  Bake in a 190oC oven for 30 minutes.

Chorizo and Bean Stew

 

Earlier this week D and I took Marco for a leisurely walk around Loch an Eilean and Loch Gamma down near Aviemore.  It was a wonderfully relaxing day despite the muggy, overcast weather and the continual aerial assault from midges and other biting beasties.  Hoping to persuade D to go back down with me again next week, not only for another jaunt around the loch but also for a repeat visit to what is now my new favourite restaurant.   

Ord Ban is a gorgeous little bistro located in the Rothiemurchas Centre at the bottom of the Cairngorm ski road.  Wish I had taken pictures of the restaurant as it was beautiful both inside and out but, frankly, I was too busy angsting over which of the fabulous sounding dishes I was going to have to even think about the camera that was hanging from my neck.  Don’t think I’ve ever read a menu where I wanted to eat absolutely everything on it.  Eventually I settled on the roasted pepper, spinach and goat’s cheese lasagne and D picked the chorizo and bean stew.  Neither disappointed and I haven’t stopped raving about the restaurant since.

To ease the passage of time before my next visit to Ord Ban I attempted to recreate the dishes we ate in my own kitchen.  The results were, in the end, quite different to Ord Ban’s fare but delicious nevertheless.  Especially the following chorizo stew. 

I used chickpeas and pinto beans in my stew purely because that’s what was in my cupboard.  Any beans would do, though I would recommend using two different types for variation in texture and ’cause it looks nicer.  🙂

Chorizo and Bean Stew

(serves 4)

400g cooking chorizo, sliced on the diagonal

1 medium leek, sliced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tspn mustard seeds

Pinch of cayenne

1/2 tspn smoked paprika (normal paprika would be fine if you don’t have smoked)

75g dried chickpeas, soaked for at least 8 hours and cooked until soft – reserve cooking water or a tin of ready cooked chickpeas

75g dried pinto beans, soaked for at least 8 hours and cooked until soft or a tin of ready cooked chickpeas

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

Handful of coriander

  • Warm a heavy based pan over a medium high heat.  Add the chorizo.  Stir frequently as the sausage releases some of its fat and crisps up a little. 
  • Remove chorizo from the pan leaving the oil behind.  Add the leek to the chorizo fat and reduce the heat a little.  Fry for a couple of minutes then add the garlic and mustard seeds.  Continue to fry for a few minutes until the leek has softened and the mustard seeds begin to pop.
  • Add the cayenne, paprika, beans and tomatoes to the pan and stir.  Add the chorizo back into the pan along with enough of the bean liquor (or stock) to almost cover the stew. 
  • Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 mins. 
  • Before serving, season to taste and stir through the coriander.

The restaurant served this with some beautiful crusty bread but I think it suits chilli cornbread even better.  Recipe to come.