Sunday, May 15, 2011

Swiss Chard Lasagne


Milou's super dad has just turned into a gardening freak. After work, he steps into the house, rushes into the bedroom, and in seconds he puts on one of his favourite t-shirts and transforms into a gardener, his alter-ego. I see him asking neighbours about seeds, compost, plants which like sun and plants which like shade,and many other things about gardening he's not sure enough. He's planted all kinds of seed he could find in the market place and every day he comes up with some new smart ideas and whenever I have a look at him through the window I find him having already set up a little greenhouse replika or an affordable drip irrigation in his tiny garden.

One of our neighbours a few days ago dropped by and gave me a bunch of Swiss chard which she's been growing in her tiny garden. She's been sharing with Milou's super dad seeds and advice for a while. It was breakfast time and I had olny four sheets of dried yufka/phyllo on hand. The idea just walked into my head: A replika of Swiss chard lasagne. I'd eaten up all the cheese in the fridge the day before so I couldn't sprinkle with parmesan or any other cheese over the chard layers and the top. It would have tasted super delicious then :) Anyway, even without cheese, it disappeared in minutes but I'd remembered to put one slice aside to be delivered to our friendly neighbour. It serves 6 by the way.

1 bunch of Swiss chard
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
4 noodles of dried yufka/phyllo
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
2,5 cups milk (warm)

sesame and black cumin
salt and black pepper
Step 1: Sauce
Melt the butter in a pan over medium-low heat, add the flour and cook gently for 2-3 minutes whisking constantly (this will keep it from getting lumpy), until softened. Gradually stir in the milk. Bring to the boil, stirring, add salt, then simmer gently over a very low heat, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until thickened. The method is almost the same as the béchamel sauce but I didn't let it thicken as much as to cover the spoon as we do with the béchamel sauce because I used dried yufka/phyllo sheets here - all the store had on hand (you can use dried lasagne noodles). So the phyllo sheets get moist enough with this sauce.

Step 2: Prep the chard
De-rib the chard, wash well, and let the chard drain on a kitchen towel (or some paper towels) for a few minutes, so that there’s no excess water on the leaves. Coarsely chop the chard, and set aside.

 Step 3: Prep the filling
Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, and saute for a few minutes. Add the chard mix everything together and cook for five minutes, stirring, until almost tender. Add some salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Step 4: Assembling the lasagne
Place a layer of sauce in a lightly greased ovenproof dish followed by a layer of yufka/phyllo and spread some chard mixture over the yufka/phylloRepeat layering until all of the sauce, chard, and yufka/phyllo have been used up. Finish with sauce on top. Bake for  
    around 30 minutes or until the top is golden.



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