Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wilted Beet Greens with Bacon and Garlic

I love beets. My husband and I often buy them. Both my local green grocer and farmers market sell beets with the tops on. I imagine that many people just lop off the stems and throw them away. The fact is that beets are a member of the chard family and their greens can be used almost interchangeably in both Swiss Chard and Spinach recipes.  I sometimes chop them up and add them to lentil or white bean soups.

While rummaging around in the refrigerator for something to eat for lunch, I came across a bunch in the bottom of my crisper drawer that I had intended to use for soup but got waylaid by chili instead.  I also found an open packet of bacon, some garlic, and "voila," a recipe was born!

I was tempted to throw some goat cheese crumbles on the top (which I still think would be good) but instead enjoyed the dish plain. The wilted greens were tender but retained a slight chewy crunch.  Couple that with bacon-y, smokey goodness and a hint of garlic - mmm...

This hearty, vitamin-rich side dish would be good with almost any roasted meat. Though, on its own, it made perfect winter's day lunch.

Wilted Beet Greens with Bacon and Garlic
Serves 2 to 4

2 bunches of beet greens (approximately 6 to 8 beets worth)
4 strips bacon
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp chicken stock or water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Strip the beet greens from the stems and discard. Tear the greens into bite-sized pieces. Wash in cold water and spin or pat dry.

Meanwhile, place bacon in a cold frying pan. Cook over medium heat until the bacon is crisp and the fat  has been rendered. Remove bacon from the pan and drain on a paper towel.

Add crushed garlic to the bacon fat. Lightly brown the clove on each side, approximately 1 minute total. 

Stir in the beet greens and chicken stock.  Toss gently for 3 to 5 minutes until the greens have wilted and the chicken stock has evaporated. Season with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.  Transfer to a serving dish and crumble the bacon over the top. Serve.

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