As I've gushed before, Rick Bayless is my hero. If I could clone him and convince him to live in my kitchen to cook for me, I'd be a happy puppy. Alas, I have to live on only his books. Whenever I buy a bunch of swiss chard, I always have to think of two meals that use it because it's gigantic and takes up half my fridge. One of my favorite swiss chard dishes is Rick Bayless' swiss chard tacos with tomatillo and chipotle salsa. All of the salsas in his book, Mexican Everyday, are fabulous. This one is very simple to make, provided you have easy access to tomatillos and a kickass blender. It's not a super hot salsa, but heat can be adjusted by adding more chipotles. The taco filling is simple: sauteed onions and wilted swiss chard with vegetable broth. The goat cheese adds a great tang to them. I'd say leave it off for a vegan meal, but I really think it's not optional in this case unless you have access to a good vegan substitute.
I use store bought corn tortillas. I've posted in the past about how annoying it is when they crumble, and I find that heating them in a small pan for 30 seconds or so prevents this, regardless of their freshness. I was very pleased when these tacos didn't fall into a giant glorpy mess when I picked them up.
I adapted this recipe slightly. Rick Bayless' recipe calls for 1/2 cup of Mexican queso fresco or feta. For some reason, queso fresco doesn't come in a small package and is fairly expensive, so I don't buy it. I'm not a fan of feta cheese, so I use goat cheese instead. The recipe suggests that collard greens or spinach can be used instead of swiss chard, but I haven't tried them with anything else. I think collard greens are too bitter and spinach is too watery.
These tacos don't take very long to make, and the salsa can keep in the fridge. I find that heating the garlic in a pan makes the salsa more mellow. Raw garlic can be bitey and I think the pan roasted garlic is a nice touch.
These are great on a work night or if you feel like eating healthy.
Swiss Chard Tacos
From Mexican Everyday
1/2 bunch swiss chard
1 small white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1.5 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1/2 vegetable broth
smoky chipotle salsa (see below. Or, your favorite store bought salsa)
1) In a skillet that is large enough to hold all the onion and chard, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium high heat. Add onion and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, cut the stems off the chard and slice the leaves into 1/2 inch pieces.
3) When the onions are golden, add garlic and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Cook for about 1 minute.
4) Add chard, vegetable broth, and a little salt. Cover the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes or until chard is wilted. Stir occasionally.
5) In a flat skillet over high heat, warm the tortillas for 30 seconds on each side.
6) Spoon chard mixture onto tortillas, top with goat cheese, and serve with salsa.
Cut the stems off the chard and chop it into 1/2 inch pieces.
Smoky Chipotle Salsa
Makes more than enough for 2 people
from Mexican Everyday
4 oz tomatillos (about 2 large ones)
1 large or 2 normal garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 chipotle en adobo, seeded (or add an extra if you want more smoke and spice) (this comes in cans, they'll keep in tupperware for a while after you open them)
1) Turn on the broiler. Peel the tomatilloes and cut them in half. Broil them until the skin blisters. About 4 mins on one side and 3 on the other.
2) **Optional. In a small pan, heat the unpeeled garlic cloves over high heat, shaking the pan occasionally until the garlic smells roasted. Then let cool until you can touch them. Peel them and put them in a blender.
3) If you choose not to do step 2, simply peel the garlic and put it in the blender.
4) Add the tomatilloes and chipotle en adobo to the blender and blend until pureed. If it's too thick for you, add a little water but be careful not to thin it out too much. Serve with tacos.