Beet Greens and Chard with Two Kinds of Beets and Buttery Toasted Walnuts

By • October 7, 2014 0 Comments

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Author Notes: A variation of my vivid red chard and red beet side dish, this iteration uses both pickled and plain golden beets. Start this at least a day in advance: Cook the beets, put half in the pickling brine and wash and dry your greens. When ready to prepare -- and this holds beautifully for a few hours and tastes great at room temperature -- brown the nuts in the butter and use the same pan to wilt the greens. Drizzle with toasted walnut oil, top with the diced beets and nuts and voila! Ready to serve! ;o)AntoniaJames

Food52 Review: This was an eye catching, festive side dish with lots of delicious seasonal flavors. We enjoyed this dish tremendously.

This fresh and seasonal side dish would be a beautiful addition to a holiday or Sunday dinner. You have to plan ahead to make this dish, but the effort of quick pickling the beets more than pays off. The warmly spiced sweet beets are delicious, mingling perfectly with the buttery toasted walnuts and the tender wilted greens. I loved antoniajames’s unfussy method for cooking beet greens and chard. You count to ten while the greens are sautéing and then turn off the heat, letting them finish steaming in their own residual heat. The result was perfectly cooked greens. I served this dish on Canadian Thanksgiving with roasted pork belly, and everyone loved it.
cookinginvictoria

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Serves 4 to 6

  • 6 to 8 small golden beets with good, fresh greens attached
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons raw sugar (or 1 tablespoon each of white and brown sugars)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 bunch green chard
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves and large pieces (not the tiny ones sold for baking)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon toasted walnut oil
  • More salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning before serving
  1. A day or two before you plan to serve this, cut the greens off the beets, leaving about an inch of their stems attached. Thoroughly scrub the beets; put in a medium saucepan, and cover with at least two inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a brisk simmer and cook until knife-tender, but not too soft, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on their size and age. Remove from the pan and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, make the pickling brine: Tie up the whole spices into a small piece of cheesecloth, or put them in a small spice bag or tea ball. Put them in a small heavy saucepan with the vinegar, sugar, ginger and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for a minute -- no more. Remove from the heat.
  3. When the beets are cool enough to handle, remove the skins and pare away any discolored spots (not uncommon with organic beets, I've found). Cut into a small dice. Put half the dice into a glass storage container or wide-mouth pint Mason jar; pour over the brining solution, dropping the spice bag on top. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use the next day. Refrigerate separately the remaining diced beets.
  4. If you have time while waiting for the beets to cool, prepare the greens. (You can do this the next day, if you want). Cut away the stems and wash off any visible dirt. Fill a basin (or your sink) with cold water and soak the leaves for a few minutes, swishing every so often. Let them sit there undisturbed for at least a minute to let the dirt settle. Gently lift out and drain. If not using until the next day, dry carefully with a clean tea towel and store in a plastic bag until ready to cook. Reserve the stems for another use. On the day you plan to cook the greens, coarsely chop into pieces no larger than the palm of your hand.
  5. When you're ready to wilt the greens -- do this up to a few hours before the meal, but no more -- get out a large skillet with a well-fitting lid. Over medium heat, toast the walnuts dry, stirring occasionally, lest they burn. When they just start to darken and begin to smell fragrant, turn the heat way down, add the butter, stirring while it melts. Continue to cook the nuts in the butter for about a minute, stirring. Sprinkle generously with salt and toss well. Remove from the pan right away and set aside.
  6. Without wiping the skillet, turn the heat up to medium high and add the greens. Sprinkle with salt and give them a good stir. If they are dry, add a tablespoon of cold water and immediately cover the skillet. Count to ten and then turn the heat off. Do not lift the lid. Let the greens steam for about a minute. Remove the lid and give the greens a good stir. Remove from the pan and set aside. If the greens were wet when you put them in the skillet, use a large spoon to remove, pressing gently against the side of the skillet to remove the water on the leaves. Use a wide, shallow dish for serving.
  7. When ready to serve, test for salt and sprinkle on more if necessary. Drizzle on the walnut oil and sprinkle on black pepper; toss lightly. Top with the drained, pickled beets and toasted walnuts.
  8. Enjoy!! ;o)
  9. I don't usually add the stems when making this, for aesthetic reasons. I do, however, save them and then chop them into dice once I've used the pickled beets. After lightly steaming the chopped stems in a hot covered skillet with a few tablespoons of water, I heat the pickling solution in the Mason jar (in a microwave) and then add the chard and beet stems. After a day or two, I stir them into lentil salads, fresh green salads or use them with other wilted seasonal greens. ;o)
  10. You can also roast the beets if you prefer, but I find that the golden beets retain their bright color much better when boiled in their skins. Also, with fresh local seasonal beets, I don't find the extra sweetness from roasting to be worth the effort or extra time.

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