November 25, 2009

Stir Fry Chard with Egg Noodles and Beech Mushrooms

I went to the supermarket yesterday praying for inspiration, since I had no idea what I wanted to make for dinner. Something hearty, to combat the chill that is starting to creep in. Something vegetarian. Something I could stir fry with the fresh ramen egg noodles I'd bought a couple weeks ago.

So, I started out in the produce aisle (as I always do), and wound up staring at some beautiful red chard. I've never actually cooked with chard before, but I love bok choi and spinach, both also leafy greens prepared in a similar manner. I bought a bunch of red chard, and a bunch of kale for the sake of variety. Chard has a very nice flavor for autumn, but I still wanted some more meaty flavors, so on to mushrooms. The market sells these adorable beech mushrooms that I had not yet had a reason to try, so into the basket they went, 1 package of white beech mushrooms, and 1 of brown. Seriously, they are beyond cute.

From spending days at a time watching the food network, I know most people discard the chard stems. Screw that! Why waste the most colorful part? Plus I was loathe to get rid of all that substance (remember, we're aiming for "hearty"). So I googled about chard stems and found corroboration on the internet that you can use the stems as long as you saute them longer than the leafy parts. Go internet.

From there I had a good idea of what I wanted to do. Without further rambling, here's the recipe:

1 bunch Red chard
1 bunch Kale
1 package each Brown and White Beech Mushrooms
1/2 large yellow onion
4-5 cloves garlic
Soy sauce
Mustard (grey poupon)
Nutmeg, freshly grated
1 package (4-5 servings) Fresh ramen (egg) noodles
Sour cream

Wash Chard and Kale, pat dry. Remove stems from leaves of Chard and Kale by pulling on the stem while gripping the base of the leaf. (It's easier than it sounds, and fairly intuitive.) Set the leaves aside and chop the stems. Chop the half-onion. Heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil in a wok or large skillet, add chopped onion and stems. Mince garlic, add. Season with 1ish teaspoon salt. Saute until onion and stems are just about tender, 5-10 minutes, but before onions start to brown. While these vegetables are sauteing, remove the ends of the beech mushrooms, and add once the vegetables are tender. Roughly chop the chard leaves, and add. Season with a few teaspoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of mustard diluted in 1-2 Tbsp water, nutmeg and paprika to taste. Continue over med-high heat until the leaves have wilted. Add the noodles and cook until heated through and plumped (add water if necessary), another 5-10 minutes.

Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream on top.

I know at first blush this may seem like a really weird dish. I'm not going to argue, but I think it came out really well, and is a fun fusion dish that met the "hearty" bill. If you're especially skeptical about the sour cream, take note: chard is directly related to beets. Borscht, aka beet soup, is usually served with a dollop of sour cream. So really, it's kind of like eating stir fry borscht.

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