Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sauteed Mixed Greens, Rice Pilaf with Scallops, and Roasted Beets with Onions

Tonight I made a large dinner, fairly simply, over the course of an hour. I used scallops, rice, olive oil, butter, cream, flour, salt, pepper, beets, chard, kale, rosemary, leeks, onions, and garlic, most in somewhat random amounts. This was the end result:

And boy is it good.

For the beets, remove the beet greens and set them aside, then place the beets in a foil packet with chopped onions (they'll be quite tender so take that into account when chopping), garlic, and whatever spices you like, as well as some olive oil. I stuck a healthy swatch of fresh rosemary in the packet this time. Then cook the packet in the oven at 450 degrees for 40 minutes. Sizzle sizzle.

For Pilaf, simply saute some chopped onion in a saute pan with a lid, then brown some rice lightly with them. I used long grain jasmine rice; any long grain rice will do, some wild rice added in isn't a bad thing either. About 1/4 onion per cup of rice, once the rice is lightly browned add two cups of broth for each cup of rice, and bring to an active boil. Once boiling, place the lid on the pan and reduce the heat to simmer (medium-low to medium heat). Check after 10 minutes (a glass lid is quite helpful here), the pilaf is finished when all moisture has been absorbed into the rice. I garnished mine with chopped leeks, chives also work for this.

The greens are a simple saute with a roue. Heat oil in a pan until water flicked into the pan sizzles and pops. For chard, you can give the big stems the foil packet treatment like I did, or just start cooking them first. Once the stems have a good head start, add the leaves. Some time after the chard leaves, you can add thinner greens like kale (I generally remove the stems) or even leeks. Beet greens are probably last on this list, since they don't take much time to cook at all. I cook my greens until they are really done, but you can "stop early" if you like your greens a little crisper. I add water during the process to sort of steam the greens, if the pan still has oil in it this can cause some splatter so be careful. When the greens were almost finished I added some wine, cooked that off, and then pulled them out of the pan.

I deglazed that same pan with a little more wine and some water, and then plopped in half a dozen scallops. I seared them on both sides, let them absorb some of the tasty moisture, and then set them on top of the pilaf. I added some more water to deglaze the pan again, and once everything was off the bottom I added some cream and flour to make a simple sauce. I pour the sauce over the greens, but it would have been good on the pilaf as well I'm sure.

You can fit this on a plate however you like, but I put the scallops on top of one side of the pilaf, the onions from the beet packet on top of the other side, and the greens (with the "gravy" on top) on the other side of the plate. The beet got its own home between them, and the chard stems (from a separate packet) ended up being my seconds.

All of these recipes are really simple and substitutable, I could have easily used chicken instead of scallops for example, and any combination of greens would have worked.

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