After talking up the fabulousness of Silver Beet a couple of posts ago I thought it only fitting that it be the subject of this weeks top 5, especially as quite a few people said they didn’t like the stuff.
So in an effort to dispel the suggestion that Chard is not an appetising vegetable these are my Top 5 ways with Silver Beet or Chard.
1. Chicken Saag – Yes I know that Saag is the Hindi word for Spinach and this is a post about silverbeet but I really, really, really like using Chard in this curry. I cook the silver beet and puree it before adding it to the curry so it add flavour and colour without texture. This seems to be a huge plus for the kids who will happily eat platefuls of this curry – provided I don’t add too much chilli that is.
2. Silver Beet & Ricotta Cannelloni – Yeah I know I’m just taking yet another spinach recipe and substituting chard, but it works and spinach doesn’t grow well in Melbourne’s summer which is when you have the rest of the ingredients on tap. I fill my cannelloni with a mixture of sauteed onion, ricotta, grated Parmesan and a bit of egg. I then place the filled cannelloni in a baking dish, top with tomato sauce (with a bit of chilli in it) then add a layer of bechamel and bake. I could happily eat this every other day and not get bored of it. Real comfort food and delicious to boot.
3. Spanakopita – I love Spanakopita, there’s something about the combination of salty feta and the slightly astringent lemony flavour of silver beet that just works so well. The way I make it is to layer 10 sheets of filo pastry brushed with melted butter into a baking dish add a mixture of feta, ricotta, egg, sauteed onion and silver beet (much like the filling in the Spinach & Feta Triangle recipe), then add 10 more sheets of butter brushed filo before baking.
4. Silver Beet & Cannelini Bean Soup – The idea for this recipe came from a friend of mine for whom this is a fail safe recipe that all the family enjoys. I love the combination of Silver beet and beans and sitting on some lovely sour dough bread. When topped with cheese this makes a substantial lunch or pleasant dinner.
5. Boiled and served with gravy – Silver beet is perhaps the vegetable that, whenever I eat it it immediately transports me back to childhood. Served either with a knob of butter and black pepper, or better yet with gravy alongside a roast chicken it brings back memories of childhood meals . I think its because boiled (or steamed) silver beet has a really distinctive taste and its a taste that I experienced a lot in childhood but not as much since. Silver beet was a regular part of my mums meat and 3 veg meals. It would have usually been a Fordhork Giant type variety – the huge ones with the crinkly leaves and she would always leave too much stalk attached for my liking. To this day I don’t really like the stalks and remove them before chopping the leaves. After leaving home it wasn’t a vegetable I bought regularly (in fact as a student I don’t recall buying many vegetables, I tended to subsist on a diet of two minute noodles and baked beans – cheap and relatively filling). Then after my impoverished student days I went to Britain and I don’t recall seeing it in the shops much there then. Perhaps I didn’t look hard enough, or perhaps its more of an Australian thing to eat. Regardless though I eat a lot of it now, but rarely do I enjoy it more than I when I eat a whole big mound of it covered in gravy, alongside a roast chicken. Incidentally that gravy needs to by made with roasting tray juices, flour and a spoon of Vegemite added for both flavour and salt. Anything else just wouldn’t be the same.