Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Chilean Style Beet (or Other) Greens

Whenever I see the combination of hard boiled eggs, olives, and raisins, I immediately think the dish must be Chilean. In fact the combination came to Chile from Spain, and can be found in a number of dishes from the Caribbean, and Central and South America; wherever the Spanish were. On reflection it occurred to me that the Spanish got this combination from the Moors; this kind of sweet-salty combination is still common in Moroccan cooking and indeed throughout the Arab world.

This is substantial enough to be a light vegetarian main dish, with the addition of some bread and butter. I think it would be very good piled on toast. If you put in 2 eggs instead of 4 on the other hand, it would not be too substantial to be a side dish to something else.

My skillet is cast iron and to my dismay it discoloured the eggs; if  you have a skillet that isn't cast iron I suggest you use it for this. And yes! My beets are now thinned.

2 servings as a main dish
4 to 6 servings as a side dish
30 minutes prep time

Beet Greens with Eggs, Olives, and Raisins

Boil the Eggs & Prepare the Greens:
4 large eggs
8 cups beet greens (or Swiss chard, or spinach, or kale)

Put the eggs into a pot and cover them with water. Bring them to a boil and boil for one minute, then turn off the heat and leave them covered for 10 minutes. Rinse in cold water until cool, and peel them. Cut them into slices.

While the eggs cook, wash and pick over the greens, discarding any bad bits or tough stems. Chop them coarsely.

Finish the Dish:
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped olives
1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon sunflower seed or olive oil
1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon hot ground or flaked chile pepper
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

This dish cooks very fast; have everything measured and ready to go before you start cooking, so peel and chop the garlic and put it in a little bowl with the raisins, olives, and pumpkin seeds.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the drained but not completely dry greens, and cook, stirring, until wilted - just a minute or so. Add the garlic, raisins, olives, and pumpkin seeds and mix in well. Continue cooking until the greens are almost done - just a couple of minutes. Season them with salt, pepper, and a bit of chile pepper; don't overdo it. Scatter the eggs gently over the greens and gently lift the greens over them to combine them. The less you can stir them, the better they will hold together. Let them heat through for a couple of minutes, then transfer the contents of the pan to your serving dish.

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