Rick Bayless’ Swiss Chard Tacos with Caramelized Onion, Fresh Cheese and Red Chile

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I have previously mentioned my affection for Rick Bayless stemming from when we enjoyed his restaurants while living in Chicago. Now I have several of his cookbooks. This dish was adapted from his book Mexican Everyday: Easy, Full-Flavored, Tradition-Packed. I would eat these tacos EVERYDAY. Healthy and delicious! We ate them with Frontera Chipotle Salsa (easy and really good) but they would be also be great with the Smoky Tomatillo Salsa I made for enchiladas the other night. We ate them in hard shells- to please my kids (who have become HUGE taco fans!), and had salsa and sour cream to pass at the table. Rice and refried beans were served on the side. In the past I have added cooked, shredded chicken to the greens in the final few minutes of cooking.

  • a 12-ounce bunch Swiss Chard (or collard, mustard, or beet greens), thick lower stems cut off OR 10 ounces cleaned spinach (about 10 cups)
  • 1 1/2 T vegetable oil, olive oil, fresh pork lard or bacon drippings
  • 1 large red onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 3-6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
  • salt
  • 1 or 2 cooked chicken thighs, shredded, optional
  • 12 warm corn tortillas, warmed (soft or hard)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) queso fresco, crumbled or chopped into chunks (feta or goat cheese could be substituted), for serving
  • about 3/4 cup Smoky Chipotle Salsa (Frontera), or Smoky Tomatillo Salsa, or hot sauce, for serving
  • sour cream, for serving
  1. Cut the chard crosswise into 1/2-inch slices (small spinach leaves can be left whole). In a very large (12-inch) skillet, heat the oil (or tis stand-in) over medium high. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown but still crunchy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir for a few seconds, until aromatic, then add the broth or water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the greens. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook until the greens are almost tender, anywhere from 2 minutes for tender spinach to 7 or 8 minutes for thick collard greens; Swiss chard needs about 5 minutes.
  2. Uncover the pan, raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring continually, until the mixture is nearly dry. Taste and season with additional salt if you think necessary. Add the shredded, cooked chicken, if using.
  3. Serve with the warm tortillas, cheese, salsa or hot sauce, and sour cream for making tacos.

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Collard Greens with Dumplings

The bacon, chipotle, and collards all work well together in this dish, and the dumplings balance the spiciness. I have made this dish using all collard greens, but also with a combination of collards, bok choy, escarole, and chicory greens from my CSA share. It think that this is a great dish to make to gobble up tons of greens! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from CHOW.com. I chopped the chipotle chiles before incorporating to add heat. I also replaced some of the water with chicken stock.

Yield: 4 servings

For the collard greens:

  • 8 ounces bacon, medium dice
  • 1 medium yellow or Vidalia onion, medium dice
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 chipotle chiles, with adobo sauce, left whole or chopped for added spiciness
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup chicken stock, plus 1 cup water
  • 2+ pounds collard greens, tough stems removed, washed, and cut into bite-sized pieces (or any combination of mixed greens)

For the dumplings:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

For the greens:

  1. Place the bacon in a 10-inch Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.) Cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate and discard all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pot.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, chiles, and measured salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and beginning to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the stock and water, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Stir in the greens a handful at a time, adding more as they wilt, until they’re all in the pot.
  4. Cover with a tight fitting lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the greens are very tender and almost falling apart, about 20 minutes for collard greens or about 10 minutes for a combination of mixed greens. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

For the dumplings:

  1. When the greens are ready, place the flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Add the buttermilk and melted butter and stir until the flour mixture is moistened and a soft dough forms.
  3. Drop the dough in heaping tablespoons, about 8-9 dumplings, about 1/2 inch apart into the simmering greens. (I used a large ice cream scoop.)
  4. Cover and simmer until the dumplings are cooked through and the tops are no longer sticky, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the whole chipotle pods from the pot, if desired.
  6. Sprinkle the greens and dumplings with the reserved bacon and serve immediately.

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