From the Land 1.30

food for thought

full share: Red Russian kale, dried black beans, red potatoes, onions, braising mix, arugula, navel oranges, and collard greens!

partial share: Red Russian kale, dried black beans, red potatoes, and onions

veg of the week

braising mix

There is no scientific name for braising mix because it is a mix of many different greens, usually brassicas. Our braising mix contains kale, lettuce, beet and turnip greens, collards, chard, bok choy, and probably a couple other varieties! Greens such as these can be grown and harvested young (for salad mixes) or mature (for cooking greens), but braising mixes are right in between. The greens are harvested at mid-maturity, so they are much milder in taste than the same varieties when full grown, but have more flavor than when harvested as baby greens and eaten raw. They are an unusual taste explosion of peppery, sweet, earthy, bitter and nutty. And as you know, when they are purchased through a CSA or farmers market, the greens are incredibly fresh, crisp, and have superior nutritional quality!

Uses: Braising mixes are usually cooked. Named after the cooking technique of searing in hot oil and then simmering in liquid, braising greens can in fact be steamed, sauteed, stir-fried, or mixed into soups or stews. Braising greens are the perfect addition to salads, stir-fries, pizza, pasta, eggs, or casseroles. From Tufts University:

  • Toss a couple handfuls of braising mix (baby chard, kale, spinach, mustard, arugula, or other greens) into a stir fry.
  • Be sure to balance the slight bitterness of baby chard, dandelion or mustard leaves with contrasting or sweet flavors such as persimmon, apple, pear, baby beets, citrus, vinaigrette spiked with honey or a syrupy balsamic vinegar.
  • You can also toss some chopped greens into soup or a frittata, or serve them sauteed with pancetta, pine nuts, and golden raisins and heaped atop crusty toasted or grilled bread rubbed with garlic.

Nutrition: Because braising mix contains many different varieties of greens, each harvest may be nutritionally different. But because it contains many types of brassicas, braising greens are always rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, folacin and beta carotene, while low in calories.

To store: You guessed it – keep the bag closed and in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Enjoy for at least a week!

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quinoa and braising mix pie
adapted from well commons
serves 4 as main dish, 8 as side dish
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 lb greens
  • 1 C cooked quinoa
  • 1 t ground nutmeg
  • 2 t coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 C milk (or dairy-free alternative)
  • 1 pie crust, uncooked

Heat oil in skillet and sauté onion until translucent. Stir in rinsed braising mix and cook until mix is reduced to at least half its original size, but leaves still maintain their shape. Stir in cooked quinoa and heat through. Stir in nutmeg and pepper. Spread mix into prepared pie crust. In separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk together. Pour egg mixture over greens and quinoa. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes, until eggs are set and crust is golden brown. Serve warm as a main dish or a side dish.

sweet potatoes, apples and braising greens
adapted from epicurious
serves 10
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, cut lengthwise into quarters, then cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices
  • 5 T unsalted butter, plus 3 T melted
  • 1 T fine sea salt
  • 2 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium baking apples, such as Sierra Beauty or Granny Smith, cored and cut into quarters
  • 6 C loosely packed braising greens, stems removed and torn into 2-inch strips
  • 1/4 C loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400°F.

On a baking sheet, toss potato slices with 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bake until cooked through and slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes. Keep warm.

In heavy medium skillet over moderate heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add apples and sauté until tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Keep warm.

In heavy large pot over moderate heat, combine remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons water. Add greens and sauté, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Lower heat to moderately low and add sweet potatoes and apples. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in parsley, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Serve hot.

hot wilted greens
serves 4
  • slice thick smoky bacon
  • 1/2 T olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium sweet red onion
  • 3 T chicken stock
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bag braising mix
  • 1/4 C toasted pecans

In a large, deep skillet or wok over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Crumble and reserve. Add olive oil to bacon drippings in skillet, heat and add garlic and onions.

Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until onions and garlic are softened. Add greens and mix. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until leaves are coated.

Stir in stock and vinegar. Cover and cook several minutes more, until leaves are wilted and cooked tender-crisp.

Top with bacon and chopped pecans. Serve hot.

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