Friday, 26 September 2008

Hot & Sour Greens - Beet Greens, Chard or Kale

Use a good quantity of greens, or the sauce will be too strong. These were some lovely - truly beautiful! - beet greens; I believe they were the variety known as "Bulls Blood". The leaves where an intense dark garnet red, and were tasty but fairly strong and just a touch bitter. Alas, by this time of year the stems of beets have gotten somewhat tough, so they were discarded. Swiss chard or kale would also do very well in this recipe. I didn't put any toasted sesame oil in my greens - they were strong enough without it - but it would be good added to mild kale or Swis chard.

3 to 4 servings
15 minutes prep time

Hot and Sour Beet Greens
The Sauce:
1/4 teaspoon white peppercorns (scant)
1 small dried hot chile
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons mild vinegar (apple cider or rice)
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon corn starch or arrowroot
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)

Grind the pepper and hot chile tegether, and put them in a heavy-bottomed pot large enough to hold your prepared greens. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well to dissolve the starch. Don't start cooking until your greens are ready.

The Greens:
the greens from 1 large bunch of beets
OR a good bunch of kale,
OR a good bunch of chard;
6 to 8 cups prepared greens in all

Prepare the greens: wash them, pick them over discarding any tough stems or damaged leaves, and chop them coarsely. Let them drain until most of the water is out of them.

Five minutes before serving time, put the greens in the pot with the sauce ingredients, and turn the heat on to medium-high. You can cover the pot for a minute or so, but after that you should uncover them, and stir them frequently as they cook. Once the sauce is thickened and the greens well wilted, the dish is done. As you will surmise, this should not take more than about 5 minutes. Serve with a barley dish, or with rice. I find this a good foil to egg or cheese dishes.

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