From Cook’s Illustrated: The Best Make-Ahead Recipe.
Why this recipe works:
After some preliminary testing for our slow-cooker lentil and Swiss chard stew recipe, we decided that large brown and green lentils did the best job of retaining their texture, shape, and flavor through the all-day simmer. As the lentil and Swiss chard stew recipe progressed, we realized it needed more flavorful components to boost the lentils and chard, which, admittedly, tasted pretty thin. After testing a variety of additional ingredients, we most liked the earthiness of mushrooms—in particular, meaty portobello mushrooms pumped up with dried porcini.
PREP-AHEAD TIPS: You can store the following ingredients together, with the exception of the chard leaves:
1. Cook the onion-chard stem mixture as described in step 1, then transfer the mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate; prep the chard leaves and refrigerate.
2. Prep the carrots and refrigerate.
3. Prep the portobellos and refrigerate.
4. Pick over and rinse the lentils and refrigerate.
Serves 6 to 8
Be sure to choose large green or brown lentils and avoid red lentils or lentils du Puy, both of which will overcook. Carefully sort through the lentils to remove small stones and pebbles and then rinse.
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 3 medium onions , minced
• 1 pound Swiss chard , stems and leaves separated (see illustration below); stems cut into 1/4-inch pieces and leaves chopped coarse
• 6 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
• 6 cups vegetable broth
• 1 pound carrots , cut into 1-inch chunks
• 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
• 12 ounces portobello mushroom caps , gills removed, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
• 7 ounces brown or green lentils (1 cup), rinsed and picked over
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves , or 1 teaspoon dried
• 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed and minced
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• Ground black pepper
• Extra-virgin olive oil (for serving, optional)
1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the onions, chard stems, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes.
2. Transfer the onion mixture to the slow cooker insert and stir in the broth, carrots, tomato sauce, portobello mushrooms, lentils, bay leaves, thyme, and porcini mushrooms until evenly combined. Cover and cook on low until the soup is thickened and the lentils are tender, 8 to 10 hours. (Alternatively, cover and cook on high for 5 to 7 hours.)
3. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Puree 2 cups of the soup in a blender until smooth, then stir back into the slow cooker insert. Stir in the chard leaves, cover, and continue to cook until the leaves are wilted and tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Stir in the vinegar, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Technique: Preparing Chard
Hold each leaf at the base of the stem over a bowl filled with water and use a sharp knife to slash the leafy portion from either side of the thick stem or hold the leaves, stacked, on a cutting board and run the knife along the sides of the stem.
Technique: Removing the Gills from Portobello Mushrooms
It is necessary to remove the black gills from the portobello mushrooms because they made the stew muddy in appearance. Using a soup spoon, scrape and discard the dark-colored gills from the underside of each mushroom.
I top mine with fried egg and some Sriracha!
Emily George (Happy Hollow Farm CORE group member)
My farming friends Tom & Rebecca of Fair Share Farm found this recipe so Katie & I decided to try it…. It’s delicious!!!
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook bread crumbs until crisp and golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in zest and a pinch of salt.
Wipe out skillet, then add anchovy paste and remaining 2 Tbsp oil and cook 15 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high and sauté half of frisée until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Add remaining frisée and sauté until wilted, about 2 minutes more. Off heat, stir in juice, syrup, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Serve topped with bread crumbs and dried cranberries or other dried fruit.
In a large frying pan melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. When butter has melted, add shallot/onion and cook 1 minute. Add greens; wilt them, stirring every so often, for about 3 minutes. Add stock and cook 3 minutes. Add remaining butter, lemon & chili. Season with salt & then add cheese. Toss well & add sesame seeds. Toss again and serve.
• 8 cups kale, stems removed, finely chopped
• 3tblsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1/2tsp. Dijon mustard
• 1/2tsp. salt
• 3tblsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 3tblsp. finely grated Parmesan cheese
Place kale in a large salad bowl. In small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, Dijon, salt and olive oil. Whisk until well blended. Pour over greens and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese; toss to coat evenly. Serve
• 8 1/3-inch-thick rounds red onion (leeks or scallions can also be used)
• 8 large shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
• 8 red radishes, trimmed, halved (Hakurei turnips can be substituted)
• 4 baby bok choy, halved lengthwise (or 1 large bok choy)
• 1 large bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 8 strips (or a few small peppers)
• 1 1/4 cups Mango-Sesame Dressing, divided
• 6 boneless chicken breast halves with skin (any chicken piece can be used)
• Nonstick vegetable oil spray or olive oil
Arrange all vegetables on large rimmed baking sheet. Brush vegetables lightly on both sides with 1/3 cup Mango-Sesame Dressing; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Arrange chicken on sheet of foil. Brush both sides of chicken with 1/3 cup dressing, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
DO AHEAD: Vegetables and chicken can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Coat grill rack generously with nonstick spray and prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill vegetables until just tender, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes for onion rounds and 4 minutes for mushrooms, radishes, bok choy, and pepper strips. Return all vegetables to same baking sheet.
Grill chicken until cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to cutting board. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Cool 2 chicken breasts; wrap and chill for Asian Chicken-Noodle Salad.
Arrange remaining 4 chicken breasts and vegetables on platter. Serve with remaining dressing.
• 3/4 cup vegetable oil
• 3/4 cup Major Grey’s mango chutney
• 6 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
• 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
• 6 3/4 teaspoons soy sauce
• 1 1/2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
• 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
Combine all ingredients in blender. Cover tightly; blend until dressing is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.