We all sometimes end up playing detective. Not just in school and work, but it’s for the little things, like, as I recently commiserated with an aunt, the source of strangely consistent patterns of holes or stains on shirts.
This time, it was when I was going to make a cake and I reached for the pickle jar containing what I thought was the spelt flour. Then, for some strange reason (I must have been possessed), I decided to read the label. (Read the label? Me?)
It was the whole wheat bread flour. Pushed to the very back was where I found the jar of spelt flour.
“Ah,” I said.
Maybe that explains some things about these stumpy little biscuits–the use of bread flour instead of spelt flour (what I thought I was using). It’s not just my awe-inspiring bread-creation powder resurfacing.
Maybe one day I will make a nice scone or biscuit. One day. And then there will actually be a nice scone or biscuit post on the blog. As for what prompted the concoction that is this blog post: I have yet to try biscuits and gravy. It doesn’t sound very good to me–really, it sounds rather dry. But it is something you hear about, and it is a thing unto itself. I think it reasonable to conclude that really, it must be good.
So, I’ve been thinking about biscuits and gravy recently, and then I thought: Swiss chard. creamed Swiss chard.
Creamed Swiss chard with biscuits?
Ah. Biscuits and creamed Swiss chard.Well, it didn’t exactly work. Maybe because my biscuits were not very tall and fluffy (bread flour, and surely also because I mishandled them) or maybe because the creamed swiss chard that I was certain would encompass the richness and textures of biscuits and gravy did not actually do so.
Rather than the biscuit, I would just go for a thick slice of toasted and buttered grainy bread. (I did in fact, and it was quite nice). The creamed Swiss chard is delicious and overly rich and a perfect repository for both garden Swiss chard and garden herbs. I can always use new ways to eat Swiss chard, and this particular way overwhelms the assertive Swiss chard flavour in lovely heavy cream.
Now about the biscuits: surprisingly, they were quite moist actually (all the herbs?), and did not dry out and become tough by the next day as I’m used to for biscuits. At the same time, they were also stout and a bit doughy.
Until the void in my heart (left by the absence of biscuits and gravy) is filled, I will fill it with this analogous biscuits and creamed swiss chard. Because, despite any misgivings about the dish itself, as an analogy, it works.chard and biscuits is pretty catchy… will be the name of my next blog, and I will finally have conquered my nemeses, chard and biscuits
Makes biscuits aplenty and creamed Swiss chard sufficient for 4 persons equipped with healthy appetites for cream.
Adapted from the New York Times. Makes around 10 biscuits.
120 g a.p. flour
100 g whole wheat or spelt flour
1 tsp salt
some ground black pepper
1 generous tbsp baking powder
5 tbsp cold butter
small bunch of chives
a few sprigs of tarragon
a few sprigs of sage
small handful thyme sprigs
small handful parsley
50 mL runny 2.5% yoghurt
150 mL milk
Whisk together flours, salt, pepper and baking powder. Cut the butter into small pieces, toss in the flour until coated, and rub in with fingertips until the flour mixture is crumbly, and some butter is still visible in small pieces.
Pick the thyme leaves from the stem. Finely chop the chives and tarragon. Finely slice the leaves of the sage and parsley. Toss the herbs into the flour mixture and mix gently. Using a fork, mix in the yoghurt and milk until just combined.
Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead just a few times. Press out the dough until it is around 1″ thick and let rest, covered with a bit of plastic wrap, for half an hour.
Preheat oven to 425F while the dough rests.
Press out a bit thinner, around 3/4″ thick, and cut into circles with a glass. Gently reroll the scraps until all the dough is used.
Bake for around 12 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.
creamed swiss chard & assembly
Bechamel and creamed greens adapted from The Nordic Cookbook by Magnus Nilsson.
2 tbsp butter
1 slice of red onion
8-cm length of garlic scape
1 1/2 tbsp flour
100 mL heavy cream
150 mL milk
1 large bundle of swiss chard
3 tbsp crème fraîche
1 small handful chives
a few sprigs of dill
For the bechamel, heat up the butter in a saucepan. Finely chop the red onion and garlic scape and cook in the butter until softened. Then add the flour and whisk until cooked. Gradually whisk in the milk and cream, whisking until the flour is completely incorporated and a slightly thickened sauce is formed. Season with salt, white pepper and a bit of grated nutmeg.
For the creamed Swiss chard, bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook the Swiss chard until the stems are just getting tender and then remove and cool in a bowl of ice water. Squeeze out the excess water and chop roughly.
How much bechamel you need will depend on how much Swiss chard you have and how creamy you like your creamed greens, so start off by heating up half the bechamel in a small saucepan. Add the greens and stir, adding more bechamel until all the greens are nicely coated and somewhat swimming in sauce. If it is too thick, a bit of milk can be stirred in to thin it out. Cook until everything is heated through, taste for seasoning, and then stir in the crème fraîche, some finely chopped chives and dill.
To assemble, heat up some biscuits in the oven (unless you have coordinated such that they are fresh!). Split the biscuit in half, top with some hot creamed Swiss chard, some additional chopped herbs and sliced radishes.