Sunday, January 15, 2012

Braised Red Chard with Tomatoes, Chickpeas and Spicy Sausage

This is one of those super versatile dishes that I came up with using leftovers in my fridge. And like all truly great leftover recipes, you can easily substitute a lot of the main ingredients with whatever you have handy. If red chard is not available, then spinach or kale will do just as well; red kidney beans or black-eyed peas can swap-in for chickpeas; and any savoury or cured meat (bacon/sausage/ham) will do. Serve it as a side dish or, even better, as a main course, piled on top a steaming mound of couscous or rice.

2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
12 oz [340 gms] Spicy Sausage (like Chorizo or Spicy Italian), cut into ½”-thick pieces
1 tbsp whole Fennel seeds
2 sticks Cinnamon
2 Bay leaves
3 cloves Garlic, finely minced
4 small Tomatoes, chopped
1½ lbs [750 gms] Red Chard, washed and cut into 2-inch strips, including stalks
16oz [½ kg] canned Chickpeas, drained and thoroughly washed
Salt (to taste)
1 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
½ tsp Chili powder
Juice of ½ Lemon (reserve the leftover lemon—rind, pith, and pulp—cut into quarters, for use later in the recipe)
½ cup Chicken stock, or Water
1/3 cup Cilantro, finely chopped
  1. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large skillet or frying pan. When the oil is smoking, add sausage and brown evenly on both sides. Remove sausage onto a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. 
  2. Add remaining oil to same pan and heat. Add fennel, cinnamon, and bay leaves and allow the spices to sputter for 1 minute. Add garlic and stir for 1–2 mins, until lightly golden. Add tomatoes and cook for 3–4 mins, until they start to break down. 
  3. Add chard in batches and stir briskly until the leaves are wilted. Add sausage, chickpeas, salt, pepper, chilli powder, lemon juice, and lemon pieces and stir well. Add chicken stock, lower heat, and continue cooking for 5 mins. 
  4. Turn off heat, sprinkle with cilantro and let sit for 5 mins. Serve hot over steamed couscous or rice.

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