As the colder days start drawing in, I have started making hearty and wholesome dishes in the kitchen. From the allotment, vegetables from the brassica section (greens such as broccoli, kale, chard etc) are now slowly being harvested.
Having a wonderful harvest in the summer of fresh Borlotti beans, I froze all young beans that were harvested at the time, with the second crop of beans, allowed to dry out on the plants before harvesting and storing the dried beans.
The Swiss chard is coming into its own, at this time of the year, but can be grown all year round in succession, but as I found Spring sown Chard goes to seed very quickly by July. Therefore my first sowing of Chard seeds is always in June, this late sowing allows the plant to stay in bloom through the late summer and autumn months right up until first frost. During winter when hard frost touches these plants, you could be mistaken for these plants to have died. I noticed, they kick back to life the following Spring, although, these overwintered plants will give a small harvest during the hunger gap, will quickly go to seed around the month of May.
A second sowing is made in September; this time young seedlings are planted in large pots left outdoors and moved into the cooler greenhouse around late October, to keep them away from the harshest of frost, providing colourful greens through the winter months.
This recipe I share with you is enough for 2 people sharing or 1 very very hungry person. Using only own grown organic vegetables and herbs. This is how I made it:
Take a stalk or two of each colour of Rainbow Chard saving the ‘leaf’ part, to be use later, as well as 2 stalks of Celery, all finely diced together with a small Onion. Mince a clove or two of Garlic.
Heat a saucepan with a tablespoon of Olive oil, add the mince Garlic and finely diced Onion, Chard and Celery stalks. Allow to sweat down over a gentle heat. Stir in the finely chop fresh herbs: Sage and Rosemary leaves, Parsley, Oregano and Lemon Thyme.
Once all the vegetables have softened add two cups of Tomato Passata and one tablespoon of puree, together with 2 cups of water.
At this point add 1 heap cup of frozen Borlotti beans, (no need to pre boil these ‘freshly frozen’ beans), together with 140g of chorizo sausage (kept whole).
*For vegetarian option, use vegan smoked chorizo following the same recipe.
Instead of using Worcestershire sauce, (which is fish based and therefore not suitable for vegetarian dishes), I found the best alternative is not Soy Sauce, but rather, Mushroom Ketchup. Not to be mistaken and used like Tomato Ketchup, but much like Worcestershire Sauce giving the dish a unique taste, depth and flavour and its vegetarian.
Add a tablespoon of Mushroom Ketchup to the Pan. Stir, cover with lid and allow to simmer gently for 30 to 45 minutes, giving it occasional stirs.
After which, take a bean or two out and carefully press the bean between your finger and thumb, if it squashes easily the stew is ready, if not allow to cook further, keep an eye on the liquid level in the pan. Need to be a stew consistency not watery nor dry.
Finally remove the Chorizo Sausage, add the chopped Chard leaves and allow to wilt in the stew for 5 minutes, meanwhile slice the chorizo and add back into the pot. Give a good stir. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately. Great on its own or with some warm crusty bread.