Hearty Braised Greens

Here's another recipe I've been playing around with lately for a leafy green side that pairs well with grilled or roasted meats.  This was inspired by some of the traditional Cretan meals described in the book "Natural Born Heroes".

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch red chard (leaves removed from stems and rough chopped, stems chopped)
  • 1 bunch green kale (stems discarded, leaves rough chopped)
  • 1 handful chopped fresh herbs - I've had great success with Italian parsley, mint and oregano
  • 1/2 medium onion (diced)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (diced)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese (small diced)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Preparation/Cooking:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Get a LARGE casserole dish (the greens take up a LOT of room before they cook down) and toss all the chopped chard leaves, kale and herbs together.
  3. Sauté the onion and chard stems in olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes until the onions are soft/translucent, add the garlic until it softens a little bit, then add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  4. Pour the broth mixture over the casserole dish of greens.
  5. Cover the dish tightly with foil and cook in the oven for about 45 minutes.
  6. Uncover the dish, mix the contents well and sprinkle with the diced feta cheese
  7. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes or so uncovered to warm the feta

The greens cook down A LOT - you start with about eight to ten cups or more of greens, and they cook down to about a quarter the volume, so this dish packs a ton of nutritional punch into a smallish serving on the plate!  You can also add other veggies to the mixture (some sautéed mushrooms or grilled bell peppers would be great - I've done both before) either before or after braising.

Serve alongside your favourite grilled or roasted meats with potatoes, rice, pasta, bulgur, quinoa...whatever starch you like.  The BEST option, though, is to toss some chickpeas in with the mixture as your starch instead of the potatoes/rice/pasta for a higher fibre/slower-digesting carbohydrate.

Makes about 8 servings.

ENJOY!