Sauteed Swiss Chard with Garlic & Lemon

Sauteed Swiss Chard with Garlic, Lemon & Red Pepper Flakes

Sauteed Swiss Chard with Garlic, Lemon & Red Pepper Flakes

Winter greens are so healthy!  Their inherent bitterness makes them a perfect side dish for creamy, rich dishes, like Beef Ragout with Onions and Baked Cheesy Grits.  The lemon adds a tart kick to keep them from being boring, garlic adds a ton of aromatic flavor, and if you like a touch of heat, crushed red pepper flakes are the answer.  It's not a sexy dish, but it is delicious and a great side. Serves 4

2 large bunches of Swiss Chard, green, red or rainbow, washed and ribs removed

2 large cloves of garlic, sliced paper thin

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons chicken or vegetable stock

1 1/2 Tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice

1 grated lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

Slice the chard into large pieces.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet (that has a lid) over medium-low heat.  Add the chard and saute until wilted.  Add the garlic and cook and stir for about one minute.  Add the stock and lemon juice, cover with the lid and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, until the chard is very tender.  Remove the lid, add the zest and crushed red pepper and continue to cook until the liquid is evaporated. Add butter and stir until melted.  Taste and adjust salt, if needed.  Serve hot.

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Cheesy Baked Grits

This recipe came about from an "Ask the Chef" question; and I am so glad it was asked!  These baked grits are tasty, and the perfect foil for a sauce or ragout.  The Crock Pot Beef Ragout with Onions was my answer to what to serve on top!  Eat these right away, and the leftover can be chilled, sliced and fried for another tasty version of the same dish.  Enjoy!

6 cups water

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups yellow grits (not instant, I used Bob's Red Mill)

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons chopped garlic

1/2 pound Cheddar cheese; coarsely grated, about 2 cups

3 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees, and put the rack in the center position.

Bring the water and 3/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 4-quart heavy pot.  Add the grits to the pot slowly, streaming them in while stirring constantly.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently at first to prevent sticking, until they are very thick and dry, about 30 minutes.  (They will spit and pop, and you may feel that they are cooked, but let them cook the entire 30 minutes-it is amazing how thick they become!)

When the time is up, remove from the heat and add the butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, garlic, and cheese, stirring until the butter and cheese have melted.  In a small bowl, beat the eggs, and the milk and mix well.  Stir into the grits and mix until very well combined.  Pour into an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish that is about 2 inches deep, sprinkle with the black pepper, and bake until set and lightly browned, about an hour.  Serve immediately!

Note:  I had leftovers, so in the spirit of my mother's breakfasts, I tried frying slices in a half butter-half oil mixture.  It worked great!  I cut the slices about an inch thick and cooked them on both sides over medium heat until they were golden (they pop and spit, so I covered them with a spatter screen!) and served them with some reheated left-over Beef Ragout.  Amazing!

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