Produce Bounty: Sauteed Cabbage, Onion and Beet Greens

We have been receiving organic produce each week from our purchased CSA Farm Share. The vegetables and fruit we get each week are from various Lancaster County Farms and they are brought down to the City by Farm To City - a CSA cooperative. The produce arrives each Thursday morning at Metropolitan Bakery on 19th and Rittenhouse Square. It's always the highlight of my day when I take my mid-morning stroll over to the bakery to pick up my share, plus it gives me a chance to peruse, ogle and occasionally purchase a loaf or two of Metropolitan's artisan breads. The CSA Farm share is doing a great service for the farmers, us City dwellers and, I am sure, for Metropolitan Bakery's business. I almost always make a boulangerie purchase.
While the cool and rainy weather has limited the crops substantially this season, the bounty is starting to slowly increase. Our box this week was brimming with beautiful tomatoes, peaches, string beans, potatoes, red kale, Detroit red beets and greens, several pounds of candy stripe onions, and a usable sized cabbage. In June, when our share began, we received a lot of lettuces, kales, chards and the occasional rhubarb. The heartier root crops were slower to arrive, and the typical summer crops of tomatoes, cucs and zucchini and fruit have only just begun in earnest. While we were on vacation last week, I had the ladies in my office take the produce share. Last week's "shopping" list made me envious - it was the first week of a bigger bounty. We were not disappointed this week, the "shopping" list was even more generous and the box was spilling over with beautiful vegetables.

Tonight's recipe was inspired in part by my co-worker Phyllis; by my desire to not waste any of the veggies and to make the most out of all the hearty greens; and by wanting to take advantage of nature's two-for-one - the greens attached to the Detroit Red Beets. I love kale, chard, and other hearty yet mild greens however, Liz does not. I have to get creative in order to utilize everything. I'd like to make coleslaw each week, but since I've been off mayonnaise for almost two years - a vinegar based slaw just doesn't cut it for me week after week. My co-worker, Phyllis, and I share cooking tips and recipes with each other. She will often tell me that she blanches the beet, turnip or dandelion greens and then sautes them in olive oil with shallots and garlic. She does the same thing with cabbage. Blanching is key and using good aromatics is also important. You don't need many ingredients nor do you need much of each ingredient. A handful of onion, a bunch of greens, a tablespoon of oil, and a cup of thinly sliced cabbage yielded a beautiful and healthy saute for my late night dinner, effectively utilizing 3 to 5 different items from my produce box of magic treats. Along with my sauteed cabbage, I boiled and mashed a few of the golden red-skinned potatoes, sauteed some chicken breasts and made a Yards Pale Ale Beer and Tomato reduction sauce.

Sauteed Cabbage, Onions and Beet Greens Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil - divided
  • 1 Bunch Beet Greens and Stems - cleaned, stems and leaves separated
  • 1 Medium Onion - large dice
  • 1/4 Small/Medium Cabbage (about 1 1/2 cups) - thinly sliced
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper - to taste

Directions:
  1. Clean the beet greens and stems thoroughly in cold water. Remove the leaves from the stems; coarsely cut the stems into 1-inch pieces and set aside. Roughly chop the beet greens and set aside.
  2. Use a non-stick skillet and heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers.
  3. Add in the diced onions and saute until the onions turn light golden - about 8 minutes. Don't burn the onions, lower the heat if necessary.
  4. Add in the beet stems and saute for 2 minutes.
  5. Next, add in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the thinly sliced cabbage and the 1/4 cup of water. If you reduced the heat to low, raise it to medium-high, stirring to combine all the ingredients. Saute this vegetable mixture until the cabbage and beet stems are tender - about 5 to 8 minutes and the water is mostly evaporated; season with a pinch or two of salt and pepper.
  6. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of salted water to boil and blanch the beet greens for 1 minute. When the beet greens are bright green, drain them and add the blanched greens to the onion/cabbage saute. Taste and adjust your seasonings, adding more salt and freshly ground pepper as needed.
  7. Serve hot over smashed new potatoes.

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