One of the items in my Philly Foodworks box a couple of weeks ago was a big bundle of chard. Chard is a fairly regular player in my kitchen and most of the time when I’m possession of a bunch, I work it into a pot of soup or turkey chili.
However, with the weather warming up, I didn’t feel moved to make soup or chili. And when I try to serve my husband a side dish of garlicky sauteed greens, he balks. So I split apart the stems and leaves and used them separately.
I cut the leaves into ribbons, sauteed them with a chopped leek and stirred that delicious mess into a batch of turkey meatloaf (that is the recipe at the bottom of this post). I know that meatloaf is singularly unsexy, but it’s one of my favorite week night dinners. I love that it can contain a world of vegetables, is easy to throw together, and makes the very best leftovers (meatloaf sandwiches are my jam).
The leaves taken care of, I chopped the stems into small bits and funneled them into a pint jar. Then, I combined 1 cup of rice wine vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a glass measuring cup and microwaved it until the salt and honey dissolved. I poured the warm brine into the jar, put a lid on, let it cool until room temperature and popped the jar into the fridge.
The meatloaf was good, but those pickles are the true winner here. They remain intensely crunchy and have just the right amount of pucker. I’ve been eating them spooned onto salads for the last week and am nearly down to the end of the jar. As soon as another bundle of chard appears in my life, I plan on making another batch.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large leek, cleaned and sliced
- 1 bundle chard leaves, cut into ribbons
- 2 pounds ground dark meat turkey
- 2 beaten eggs
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, or cooked rice
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons (or thereabouts) ketchup
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add leeks and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until they start to soften. Add the chard leaves and continue to cook until wilted. Once the chard has cooked down, remove the pan from the heat.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, eggs, crumbs/rice, garlic cloves, salt, and pepper. Using a fork, combine the ingredients.
- Add the cooked leeks and chard and stir until just combined.
- Turn the meat mixture into a loaf pan and even out the surface. Spread the ketchup on the surface of the meat and evenly sprinkle the onions on top.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the meatloaf is fully cooked. If you have an instant read thermometer, it should read 165 degrees F when the meatloaf is done.
- Once it is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a couple minutes. Eat and be happy.
I learned the trick of arranging the sliced onions on the top of meatloaf from Trisha Yearwood when I was writing a column for the Food Network's blog and regularly made recipes from their TV personalities.