Looking for yummy ideas that will inspire you to cook the gorgeous bunches of Swiss chard, spinach and beet tops available at the market right now? Try this meatless mélange that features lentils as the protein source.
You can use other lentils but try to get the Du Puy lentils if you can. They are grown in volcanic soil that imparts superior flavour and a firm texture that chefs and gourmets love. If they aren’t available, you can use canned green or yellow lentils, but be sure to reduce the cooking time to 5 minutes since the canned version is already fully cooked.
1 bunch Swiss chard, spinach or beet tops
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped shallots or onions
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon peel
1 cup (250 mL) sliced oyster or other mushrooms
1/2 cup (125 mL) Du Puy lentils*
13/4 cups (400 mL) chicken or vegetable broth
Separate the Swiss chard leaves from the stems. Wash and pat dry. Chop the stems into 1/2-inch (1 cm) pieces and slice the leaves crosswise into 1-inch (2.5 cm) wide ribbons. Reserve.
Melt the butter in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the Swiss chard stems and mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are lightly browned. Remove the mixture from the pan and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots, garlic, salt and pepper to the pan. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
Add the lentils, broth and lemon peel to pan. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes or until most of the stock has been absorbed and lentils are tender but still whole. Stir in the reserved mushroom mixture and the Swiss chard leaves. Cook, stirring, occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until the greens are wilted. Makes 2 servings.
*Tip: Du Puy lentils are also sometimes sold as caviar lentils or French-style lentils