I was going to title this article “Friday Night Cleaning Out the Fridge Dinner.” But somehow the image of cleaning out the fridge leads to unfortunate thoughts of fruits and vegetables past their time and even mold. Not very appetizing really. So I started thinking like a restaurateur or a marketer. Friday Night Pre-Market Dinner sounds a lot more appealing; almost like a special prix fixe dinner menu.
We’re lucky to live near a very robust, weekly farmers’ market that includes milk, meat, eggs, vegetables, fish, and even mushrooms. We try very hard to buy most of our food there every week, only supplementing with staples like flour, olive oil, and chocolate from the supermarket. In winter of course this becomes more difficult, but you’d be surprised the things you can do with turnips and rutabagas (that’s swedes to those reading from across the pond).
Since the market is on Saturday, in our house it makes sense to use things up by Friday, making room for all the new things we are invariably tempted by at the market. This week, I had the following ingredients to work with on Friday evening: some slightly sad sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, and a lovely bunch of rainbow chard that looked as crisp and fresh as the day we bought it. I feel this is one of the advantages of buying local food. It’s a lot fresher when you buy it and it lasts a lot longer.
I tossed the potatoes (both kinds) in olive oil and some herbs de provence and put them in the oven to roast. These are my go to herbs when I’m in a hurry, or not sure what to use. They go with everything!
Somehow, in my mind, chard is associated with raisins, so I put some in a small dish and poured sherry over them, leaving them to soak. I had some lovely farro in the pantry from Cayuga Pure Organics, so I put that on to simmer in a pot with some homemade chicken stock I grabbed out of the freezer. Speaking of the freezer, did you know that it is the best place to store your pine nuts? They keep for a long time and don’t go rancid. I pulled them out as well and toasted a nice big handful in a dry skillet.
While the farro bubbled away, I cut the big stems and veins out of the chard and tore the leaves into bite sized pieces. Once the veggies were basically roasted and the farro was almost cooked (about 30 to 40 minutes) I threw the chard in with the farro which still had a tiny bit of liquid left and stirred it about until the greens were nicely wilted. Along the way I also drained and tossed in the sherry soaked raisins. Overall, I think it was quite successful, the chewy farro made a nice hearty base for the dish and each bite was full of little surprises, especially those sherry-soaked raisins.
What are your favorite “pre-market” recipes?
Roasted Autumn Vegetables with Farro and Rainbow Chard
1½ tablespoon of golden raisins
2 sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon herbs de provence
1 cup farro
1½ cups homemade chicken stock or low sodium canned stock
freshly ground black pepper
1½ tablespoons pine nuts
Put the golden raisins in a small dish and cover with sherry.
Peel and cube both kinds of potatoes. Put them in a baking dish and toss with olive oil and the herbs de provence, then sprinkle liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast the vegetables in a 350F oven for 30-40 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, bring the chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan and add the farro. Simmer partially covered until almost done (about 30 minutes).
While the farro is cooking, toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet until fragrant and slightly brown. Pay careful attention as they can burn very easily.
If necessary, cut the big stems and veins out of your chard and tear it into bite sized pieces. Once the farro is done, drain the golden raisins and add them to the pot. Next, add the chard and stir until wilted (about 5-7 minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, make a bed of the farro, chard and raisins on the plate, put the roasted veggies on top and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts. A drizzle of olive oil completes the look.