Chard Stems are Forgiving

chard stems leeks potatoes hot dogsSome dishes welcome the chard leaves but not the stems, some do both, but I tend to have bags of chard stems in the fridge. . . .for quite some time often. I just unearthed a bag of rainbow chard stems and found them perfectly fine. The ends had browned a little but nothing a little trim couldn’t fix. Their color alone whets the appetite but made into a hash with leeks (also forgiving and also yellowing a bit), potatoes and leftover hot dogs (from yesterday’s bbq) they make a perfectly satisfying dinner. Since it was just my 8-year-old and me for dinner tonight we didn’t even need an egg on top. One dish; the fridge is a bit tidier; and we’re both full.

chard stem leek potato hot dog hashchard stem leek potato hot dog hash w green sauce

Hash with Whatever You’ve Got . . .

in this case:

Olive oil
2 big leeks, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced into half rounds
4-5 medium, firm fleshed potatoes, scrubbed and cut into small dice or chunks
about 15 chard stems, washed and thinly sliced
4 leftover hot dogs (please don’t feel the need to create leftover hot dogs to make this:)! or use whatever leftover meat you might have or no meat at all
Green sauce (optional–see below)
Fried or poached egg (optional but lovely especially if you don’t have leftover meat)

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the largest skillet you have over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and chard stems and a few pinches of salt. Saute over fairly high heat for a few minutes until softening. Add the potatoes and a bit more salt and mix well. Continue cooking until the potatoes are browning and tender. Add the leftover meat, if using, and warm through. Top with the green sauce (below) or with any kind of salsa or simply fresh parsley or cilantro or any other herb.

Green Sauce  . . . with what I happened to have

Small bunch parsley, washed and finely chopped
1/2 small bunch cilantro, washed and finely chopped
Handful mint leaves, washed and finely chopped
1 big stalk green garlic, trimmed and minced (green part too since it was nice and tender)
Small piece of shallot, minced (use any kind of onion or green onion or skip)
About 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (vinegar would be fine too)
About 1/3 cup olive oil
Salt to taste

Mix everything together well and taste and adjust seasoning with salt and or lemon juice or vinegar. This sauce is good on most anything . . .



Leek, Potato & Herb Pancakes

leek potato fritters w:horseradish yogurtI turn most anything into a fritter, patty, lattke-like thing. It really never fails to:

  • Taste good
  • Use up whatever random bits of vegetables, herbs, cooked grains, etc. I have
  • Turn vegetable skeptics into vegetable eaters, if not lovers
  • Serve as a one dish meal if time is short

And I never deep fry them, mostly because I’m frugal and don’t want to use that much oil and because it makes a mess and because I think they taste just as good just pan-fried in a bit of oil.

I made these last night with my son and we all loved them, as we do most things in this format! So I decided to create a new section on my Seasonal Recipe Collection devoted to this adaptable, delicious format/technique! There are now 12 recipes for savory pancakes, patties, fritters and lattkes all grouped together on the What’s for Dinner? page. How about Japanese Cabbage Pancakes or Winter Squash & Rice Fritters w/ Cilantro Yogurt Sauce or Savory Chard Pancakes or Carrot & Rutabaga Lattkes?

If you’re already a subscriber, great, if not, now may be the time! Go make fritters for Passover or any day of the year!

Leek, Potato and Herb Fritters
–loosely inspired by Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook

Serves 3-4 (about 18 3-4-inch patties)

leek potato fritter prep

2 lbs leeks (about 5 medium), trimmed and well washed and thinly sliced
3 medium yukon gold potatoes (or other firm fleshed potato), scrubbed and quartered
2 stalks green garlic or 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions or a 1/4 of an onion, minced
1/3 cup chopped cilantro or parsley or other tender herbs
3 eggs
1/4 cup flour, fine bread crumbs or matzo meal
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar or Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Oil for pan-frying
*Optional topping of Greek yogurt mixed with some grated, fresh horseradish and salt.

Wash the leeks well. I make deep cuts down the side, lengthwise, almost to the root, to be able to rinse between the layers. I use most of the green part and just trim off the toughest parts. Thinly slice the leeks. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt and par boil the leeks for 5 minutes. Drain well.

Boil the potatoes until tender. Mash the potatoes in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and whisk in the flour or bread crumbs and add mixture to the potatoes and leeks along with the herbs, scallions or onion, garlic, cheese and salt and pepper. Mix well.

Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy skillet. Fry fritters on both sides until golden brown. Top with horseradish yogurt if you’d like.