Thursday, July 26, 2007

Chard Burritos

This isn't a raw meal, but it is organic and vegetarian. And it's absolutely delicious. Rainbow chard is a dynamite veggie oft neglected and not often seen in produce departments of mainstream grocery stores. Farmer's markets, produce stands and chains like Whole Foods often feature this handsome green. I recently brought home a bundle and chose to follow Jack Bishop's suggestion for Chard burritos.

Jack comments that this is an excellent quick meal if one has leftover rice, but even with cooking fresh rice, this is an easy meal to assemble. I used my favorite Lundberg Farms' mahogany rice—that rich, chewy mix of dark brown and black rice. Jack's treatment calls for 2 cups of cooked white rice. I'm all about avoiding the deadly whites, though I do make an exception for Jasmine rice when making Thai curries. Using brown rice, or one of the dark rice combinations from Lundberg farms, offers more nutrition to this dish and a big bump up in flavor over bland white rice.

These burritos are great with fresh salsa but a good bottled one, like Green Mountain or Muir's would work well, too. The following recipe serves 4 as a main course. I used about half the quantities and made 3 generously filled small burritos.

Tomato-Chipotle Salsa
3 - 4 medium ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 small chipotle in adobo sauce, minced (about 1 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh oregano leaves (substitute cilantro or basil if desired)

Chard Burritos
1 lb. chard, preferably rainbow chard, leaves washed, shaken dry to remove excess water.
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
salt to taste
4 large flour tortillas (about 12 inches - warmed one at a time in a large skillet)
2 cups cooked rice (from 2/3 cup raw)
1/4 cup sour cream.

For the salsa: combine the tomatoes, chile, oregano and salt to taste in a medium bowl and set aside.

For the burritos: With a chef's knife, separate the fleshy stalk from the green portion of each chard leaf. Trim the ends of the stalks and chop fine. Stack the leaves and slice them crosswise into 1/2 inch thick strips. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and chard stalks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chard leaves and salt to taste. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender about 7 minutes. If the greens are soupy, remove the cover and simmer a minute or two to evaporate liquid. Adjust the seasonings, add more salt if needed.

Lay the warmed tortillas flat on a work surface. Spoon 1/2 cup of the rice over the bottom of each tortilla. Top the rice with some chard and 1 Tbs. sour cream. Roll the tortillas, tucking the sides toward the center, to form neat bundles. Slice each burrito in half and serve, passing the salsa at the table.

These burritos are rolled in whole wheat wraps not flour tortillas. Extra flavor; more fiber.

Till next time . . . keep on cooking, but remember to include a lot of raw fruit and vegetables.

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