This is my take on Anat Teitelbaum's swiss chard (or as I call it, silver beet) and pomegranate molasses from Yotam Ottolenghi's & Sami Tamimi's Jerusalem. I first saw thison the wonderful tv-special that preceded the book, with Anat and Yotam huddled over the stove, eagerly waiting for the cracked wheat to caramelise and crust onto the bottom of the pan – a sensory experience just to watch and even more fun to recreate from this memory.
Silverbeet is one of my favourite vegetables – I particularly love the juicy stems that bring texture and earthy flavour. My version of the dish, made in a lunch-time flurry, is a speedier than the original, swapping the cracked wheat for brown rice that I par-boiled as I prepped. I've added feta, spring onions, toasted flaked almonds and smokey paprika to the mix. The sweet tanginess of the pomegranate molasses is set off by salty feta, a jazzy upgrade for the earthy silver beet and the nutty brown rice – made even more nuts with the addition of the toasted almonds.
large bunch of silver beet
1 cup brown rice (250g)
small handful (1/3 cup) flaked almonds, toasted
Olive oil for sautéing (or any other fat – ghee, butter – your choice!)
Serves 4, substantial on its own, but a great accompaniment, too
1. Bring 1 cup of brown rice to the boil in 2 cups of water, lower to a to a mid-heat and let simmer
2. Meanwhile, finely chop 1 onion and sauté in about two teaspoons of olive oil
3. Wash thoroughly and roughly chop a large bunch of silver beet. Add the chopped stalks to the onions and sauté about for about 5 minutes
4. Add the rest of your chopped silver beet. By this time your rice should have soaked up most of the water and be on its way to being as cooked as brown rice will ever be, it's a die-hard al dente grain, after al..
5. Add a big splash of white wine to your silver beet and onion and stir in your unstrained rice (there will be a couple of tablespoons of water still in your saucepan, use it), sprinkle over a teaspoon of powdered veg stock or a glug of liquid stock, drizzle over pomegranate molasses to , a sprinkling of smokey paprika, some pepper, and clamp on the lid for about 5 minutes.
6. Take off the lid, stir though a little more of the molasses (have a taste to decide for yourself, it is pretty potent stuff so you can be sparing) and crank up the heat, you want the molasses to caramelise the bottom a little – you will smell this happening – don't overdo it.
7. Meanwhile lightly brown a small handful of flaked almonds in a non-stick pan.
8. Serve sprinkled with the almonds, crumbled feta and chopped spring onion. I also drizzled over some extra virgin olive oil and just a dash more of the molasses. Some parsley, or any other Ottolenghi-ifying fresh herb, wouldn't go astray.