Tuesday, April 20, 2010


In an effort to keep working on my spring manifesto, I tried a new recipe from Veganomicon (which was recommended by Julia when I asked about favorite cookbooks).  Not only was I able to use all of the chard from our CSA box in a new way, the recipe also called for two shallots.  I excitedly ran out to the garden and pulled some of our own--- which were definitely not ready and much, much too small.  But I was feeling so proud and impatient that I used them anyway.  I mean, when we planted these in October, the activity put my pregnant self in the hospital with early contractions.  I am going to use every. damn. shallot. I am going to shallot the shit out of things.

The recipe I tried is below.  When they say be careful not to burn the rice, they're not kidding.  I served this with a dollop of plain yogurt on top and some Ranger IPAs.  Delicious.

Fresh Dill-Basmati Rice with Chard and Chickpeas
From Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook

2 cups basmati rice
2 shallots, minced
1 small onion, finely diced
2 tbsp peanut oil [I used olive oil.]
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 bunch fresh dill, large stems removed, chopped finely, about 3/4 cup [I used 1 tbsp of dried dill.]
1 pound chard, washed and thick stems removed
1 15-oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 and 1/2 to 2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
freshly ground pepper
pinch of cayenne
juice of 1 lemon
1-2 lemons, sliced into wedges (optional)

In a medium-sized bowl, rinse the basmati rice with a few changes of water, then cover with at least two inches of water.  Set aside, allowing rice to soak for at least 20 minutes.  When ready to use, drain with fine-mesh strainer.

Steam the chard until limp and bright green.  Drain, squeeze out, and chop finely. [Next time I would probably skip the steaming step, as I like my chard a little less done.  Just chop and throw in the pot when it's called for in the next step.]

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add cumin seeds, fry for 15 seconds, then add shallots and onion.  Sprinkle with garam masala and saute until shallots and onions are soft, about 6 to 8 minutes.  Add drained rice, folding to coat with spiced oil mixture.  Add chopped dill, chard, chickpeas, water or stock, salt, lemon zest, pepper, and cayenne.  Cover and increase heat to a boil, then quickly lower the heat to medium-low and tightly cover.  Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is fluffy, watching carefully as not to burn.

Remove from heat, sprinkle with lemon juice, and fluff rice, then cover again and let sit 10 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.

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