Swiss chard with lentils, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil
I am cleaning up my garden before leaving on our trip. It can get cold here and I didn’t want to come back to frozen vegetables and forgo the fun of picking my own vegetables and cooking them fresh. I had a large amount of sorrel, both green and red and I gave it a whirl in the food processor with olive oil, then filled glass jars with the “pesto” and put it in the freezer until further notice. I have a few ideas floating in my mind about using it in recipes. Stay tuned. I also had a large bunch of rainbow swiss chard meaning swiss chard that grows in a variety of colours: red, yellow, pink etc., all tender leaves and stems. I could not let this go to waste so I harvested the entire bunch and combined it with green lentils that I cooked yesterday just for this purpose.
The other day I picked up pumpkin seed oil at VOM FASS in Kelowna, but this is no ordinary pumpkin seed oil. It is dark and thick and pure and aromatic, nothing like the light and transparent specimen that one usually finds in grocery stores. I only used a little of it to cook as I consider this to be more of a finishing oil but I did add a little to the cooking oil (olive oil) and then drizzled liberally over the dish at serving. Everything was fragrant and full of flavour.
Use French green lentils that keep their shape when they are cooked. The brown variety would be too soft and not suitable to this dish. You can cook the lentils ahead and keep them in the fridge for a couple of days, they will be fine.
Begin cooking with the aromatics (garlic and onion) then add the chard stems, then add the leaves and lastly the cooked lentils. If you prefer, cook half the onion with the stems and garlic and remove to a plate, then the other half of the onion with the leaves, then combine everything to warm it up.
1 cups green lentils
1 large bunch swiss chard (I used rainbow variety)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
Finishing: pumpkin seed oil (see note above)
Rinse the lentils, place in a large pot, cover with cold water by two inches and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and cook, partially covered, until lentils are cooked through.
Drain any remaining liquid and set aside.
Wash the chard, chop the stems and leaves keeping them separate.
Heat olive oil (and a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil) in a large skillet, add the garlic and cook until fragrant but not coloured.
Add half the onion and cook for a couple of minutes until it begins to turn translucent.
Add the chard stems and a little salt and pepper and cook, stirring until they soften and cook through but not mushy (cooking time depends on their thickness).
Remove to a plate.
Add a little more oil (both olive and a little pumpkin) to the skillet and add the chard leaves.
Add 1/4 cup water and salt and pepper and cook, lifting the chard with kitchen tongs to stir them around until they wilt and cook though.
Add the cooked chard stems and the lentils and mix gently.
Taste to check for seasoning and add as needed.
Pile the vegetables-lentil mixture onto a serving platter:
- drizzle with pumpkin seed oil
- garnish with a couple of chard leaves
- sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.