Up until a few short years ago, nothing could have convinced me that greens would ever become something that I loved. I’m not speaking of lettuce or spinach, but winter greens like chard, kale and collards. Then one day I decided to be bold and try some kale that had come in our CSA box and I combined it in a saute with other ingredients I knew I liked. Imagine my surprise when the end result was a savory and satisfying dish that brought out the natural sweetness of the kale. Then I tried it with chard and it worked equally well. “Hmmm, maybe I’m on to something here,” I said to myself. The next time I made some greens this way, I had extra and added them to some pasta with roasted tomatoes and sausage, and hence my Penne with Kale, Sausage and Roasted Tomatoes recipe was born and you can see that post here. Now I’ve come to love them so much I grow two kinds of kale in my garden and it’s one of my favorite side dishes to make while winter greens are in season. Fortunately it’s a nice long season where we live!
This week’s CSA box had some of the most beautiful and colorful mixtures of chard I’ve ever seen…a rainbow! So naturally, I had to make this dish tonight for dinner and it was so good that I thought I’d share it because it deserved a post of its very own. I hope this will inspire you to eat your greens, whether or not you think you like them. I promise you, these are some really good eats!
Winter Greens with Shallots, Currants and Walnuts
1 lb. Chard (Rainbow or swiss) or Kale, (Lacinato, Red Russian or combo of both), washed, stemmed and chopped crosswise into salad-sized pieces
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2 large)
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup currants (you can use regular or golden raisins, but chop them if you do)
2 T. good quality olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Heat the 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots just begin to caramelize, about 3-5 minutes. Add the currants and stir them for a minute to allow the heat to infuse some moisture, then add the nuts. Cook this mixture for about 1-2 minutes more, then sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
Add about 1/2 of the greens, a tiny pinch more salt and another two grinds of black pepper, then stir to incorporate the fruit/nut/shallot mixture with the greens. Allow to cook for another minute or so, until the greens begin to wilt slightly and reduce in size. Add the remaining greens with another tiny pinch of salt and some pepper, then stir to incorporate. Continue cooking the greens, stirring frequently until they are tender and just done, about 5-7 minutes. They will have diminished to about 4-4 1/2 cups of greens. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve alongside your favorite roasted meat or as part of a veggie meal…or just slurp them up by themselves.