rhymes with orange

The other night we cracked one of our wedding presents and started experimenting. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, along with the original (non-vegetarian) book, is an excellent resource that I think will turn into a regular go-to book for us.

Looking at what we had in the fridge and thinking about what we felt like, we decided on two dishes involving orange – Black Beans with Orange Juice and Chard with Oranges and Shallots. Unfortunately, they didn’t complement each other all that well – the chard, with its sweet taste and strong flavour, totally overshadowed the subtle, earthy bean dish. The chard was the better-received of the night, with it’s almost-candied bits of orange, colourful presentation, and strong, sweet flavour. The beans were good – I think everyone had seconds – but next to the screaming orange of the chard, they seemed like regular beans. They’d do much better against something plainer, I think. Aw well, that’s what family dinners are for – experimentation. Recipes follow.

Black Beans with Orange Juice

3 c cooked or canned beans (2 15 oz cans) with about 1 cup of their cooking liquid
1.5 tsp ground cumin
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 orange, well washed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, preferably red or yellow, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 c dry red wine
chopped fresh cilantro or parsley leaves for garnish

Put the beans in a pot over medium heat (with liquid); add the cumin and a good pinch of salt and pepper.

Halve the orange. Peel one half and add the skin to the beans, then divide the sections and set aside. Squeeze the juice out of the other half and set aside.

Put the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pepper softens, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add to the beans.

Turn the heat to high and add the red wine to the skillet. Cook until the win is reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Add to the beans along with the reserved orange juice. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with rice, garnish with the reserved orange sections and some cilantro, or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

chard with orange pieces

Chard with Oranges and Shallots

1 lb white, red, or rainbow chard, washed and trimmed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 tbsp sugar
1 small unpeeled orange or tangerine, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the stems out of the chard leaves. Cut the leaves into wide ribbons and slice the stems (on the diagonal in you like); keep the leaves and the stems separate.

Put the oil in a large skillet with a lid (I ended up using a small stock pot) over medium heat. When hot, add the shallots and sugar and cook for a minute, then stir in the orange or tangerine bits and lower the heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, until everything is caramelized, about 20 minutes. Stir in the vinegar.

Return the heat to medium and stir in the chard stems. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften a bit, just a couple of minutes. Add the chard ribbons, cover, and turn off the heat (I had to cook them for a minute or two). Let the chard steam for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir and re-cover the pan for another couple of minutes. Sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper and serve immediately, or within an hour or two at room temp.

Other vegetables you can use: any chard, bok choy, kale, or any cabbage. For the citrus, use kumquats (quartered) if they are available.

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