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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Creamy Chard

Hell's Backbone Grill is, apparently, an excellent place to eat. It's located in the tiny town of Boulder, Utah near the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. I used to go through this town on fishing trips with my parents when I was a child. I have only one memory of the town:  my toddler brother had his stomach pumped after he found a bottle of baby aspirin in the car (prior to the advent of child proof lids).

Tom and Sol went to Hell's Backbone Grill this past summer to celebrate their one year anniversary. Likely their memories are better than mine. They kindly gave me a cookbook by the owners/chefs. It's a beauty and if this recipe is any indication, it is full of good tasting recipes.

This treatment of a humble vegetable can be enjoyed in celebratory meals like Thanksgiving dinner.


Creamy Chard

Adapted from:  With a Measure of Grace:  The Story and Recipes of a Small Town Restaurant by Blake Spalding and Jennifer Castle

Serves:  6

1 1/2 T butter
1 c diced onion
1 teas minced garlic
1 pound Swiss chard, cleaned and chopped into thin ribbons (you can include tender parts of stems)
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 c grated Parmesan
1 c bread crumbs (the restaurant uses biscuit crumbs; I've used fresh bread spun in a blender)
1 1/2 T chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teas dried
3/4 teas salt, or to taste
1/2 teas freshly ground pepper, or to taste

Melt butter in a pan large enough to fit all the chard. Add the onions and cook until soft and starting to color. Add garlic and stir for 30-60 seconds. Add the chopped chard and the cream and stir everything together. Bring to a simmer and lower heat if necessary to keep it slowly cooking for about 5 minutes. Add the grated cheese and bread crumbs, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. The thickness of the dish can be modified by adding some milk or cream a little at a time.

Cook on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chard is tender and the mixture has a thick, creamy texture. If needed, adjust the salt and pepper and serve.Note:
Don't use a full cup of panko bread crumbs; it requires much more cream to moisturize the crumbs and even then, it seems that the chard is secondary to the gloppy bread. It's not nearly as good as using soft bread crumbs.

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