Tuesday 15 March 2011

Eat Your Greens

As St Patrick's Day is impending, I thought something green would be a good idea! And as I'm sure you're all sick of being told where to drink proper stout, or even crappy mass-produced freezing cold nitrogenated rubbish, I thought I'd go a different route.

This was inspired by a column by the lovely Oliver Thring in the Guardian's Word of Mouth column, I adore Oliver's stuff, it always makes me think about creating a dish with his subject of the week.

There was further inspiration from a recipe of Nigel Slater's I saw not so long ago combined with a conversation with my mum about chorizo the other day.

Phew! So many muses, so little time!

Anyway, this requires a little bit of wheat beer, I'm thinking more along the lines of a German Kristall or Belgian rather than a Hefeweizen, I think the latter would be too much, and I've made some suggestions below anyway.

This is very obviously not a complicated dish, and you can vary it with the seasons, maybe substitute the kale for asparagus and cook the dish with a saison a bit later in the year, or use Jerusalem artichokes and a a mild when they are in season, use Tolouse sausage, savoy cabbage (which is very similar to the French chou vert frisé) and a biere de garde for a twist.

It's a one-pan dish so washing-up is kept to a minimum and I'm pretty sure I don't need to advise you what to do with the rest of the beer that doesn't go into the cooking process - cheers!

Chorizo, Curly Kale & Potatoes
Cooking chorizo (I do like the ease and availability of the Unearthed ones in Waitrose 1 pack = two people for this recipe, but any spicy sausage would be good)
4-6 decent-sized new potatoes, boiled, cooled & sliced (you could also always use some of those lovely jarred white Spanish beans instead, just don't brown them!)
Curly kale (or any dark green cabbage like Savoy or Cavolo Nero)
Pine nuts
1-2 clovs of garlic - finely chopped
1 medium-large red onion - finely diced
Knob of butter
Wheat beer (Blanche de Bruxelles, Okell's MacLir, St Austell Clouded Yellow, Schneider Kristall)
Olive oil

Heat pan (with a lid for later) until just beginning to smoke, add splash of olive oil wait a few seconds for that to heat up then add chorizo, turn down to medium heat, cook for two-three minutes.

Add potato slices and sprinkle a little black pepper over top, leave slices alone, do not turn until they've gone golden brown on bottom - wash your kale even if it says pre-washed! It never is properly!

Carefully flip all your potato slices and introduce finely diced onion, cook for a minute then add finely chopped garlic.

Immediately after garlic sprinkle pine nuts in, then after 30 seconds add your knob of butter and then add the kale and a small splash of wheat beer to the pan.

Turn heat down low, pop the lid on and leave to wilt kale for 5-7 minutes.

Check for seasoning (I think liberal amounts of black pepper always needed, salt depends on your sausage's salt levels), squeeze lemon juice over top - serve with some crusty bread to mop up those beery/buttery/paprika-y juices!



neil, eatingisntcheating.blogspot.com said...

this sounds awesome! Finely a food writer who undertsands the flavour variations of different beers and how they work as a recipe ingredient.

I wrote a post a few days ago where I mention a bbc recipe which just asks for "beer" in the recipe. Cider vinegar, olive oil etc... then just 'beer'. not good enough!

Have a read if you get a minute

Eddie86 said...

I know what's going on our specials on Thursday - Kale & toasted Pine nuts always = win!

Melissa Cole said...

@Neil - beer being my thing (food only just secondary) if I don't get that right then I should fold up tent and go home, I read your post and totally agree with you

@Ed - royalties to usual address! : )

Eddie86 said...

Well your suggestion with the mussels went down well (Erdinger & Chilli). I'll let you know how it goes Thursday :)

Melissa Cole said...

@Ed - well that's pleasing, I vaguely remember nattering about that! : )