While gardening mostly seems to be suffering from lack of success, it is occasionally a problem when you only do what you’re actually good at. (Relatively speaking, that is.) For us it is growing potatoes, beets and Swiss chard. And so the bounty of Swiss chard never ends.
There have been a couple new things though. This spring my grandparents’ asparagus actually resulted in a few skinny and flavourful stalks. They looked very alien: the little antennae peek above the surface with no warning. Not like radishes or beets that let you know there is a bulb hiding below the leaves, and not like a leafy green that happily reveal their whole growth and development, from first leaves to buttery heads, above the surface. For asparagus, there is no hint of the vasculature supposedly buried and just napping beneath the soil. The first sign is the asparagus stalk itself, initially a bit shy, but then content to grow upwards, willy nilly.
The few stalks were snipped off and eaten right away. Cool, a bit sweet and crisp. Unsubstantial, but who knows what will appear without warning next year…Until then I’m more concerned with how to use up the Swiss chard we’ve been growing.
I saw these Turkish pastries on Linda’s perpetually inspirational blog, La Petite Panière–and a perfect opportunity to stuff some of this never ending Swiss chard bounty into a pastry.
The dough was different than I was used to and initially a bit strange to work with, but it baked up wonderfully. Mine had less gluten, probably due to the dark rye flour, which meant that the pastry cracked during baking and didn’t have the same smooth finish as did Linda’s. But it was biscuity, tender and crisp, and the baking powder ensured that it became light and aerated.
Due to the moisture of the filling, I could have baked it for a bit longer as the pastry right under the filling needed a bit more time–say 50-60 minutes instead of the 40 minutes I baked them for.Suprisingly, despite all the Swiss chard, I really liked the filling. While a nice pastry filling, I would happily eat right away without baking it into the pastries. The labneh and parsley ensure that it tastes sharp, cool and refreshing.swiss chard poğaça
Adapted from La Petite Panière, original recipe from @turkishrecipes on Instagram. Makes 12.
300 g a.p. flour
150 g rye flour
1 tsp salt
generous amount ground black pepper
7 g baking powder
50 g sourdough starter (just for fun)
100 g neutral oil
100 g melted butter
125 mL 10% m.f. yoghurt
1 generous bagful of Swiss chard
60 g feta
100 g labneh (or other thick cultured milk product–mascarpone, creme fraiche etc)
1 generous handful of parsley
roasted sesame seeds
Whisk together dry dough ingredients. Form a well in the centre, add the yoghurt, butter, oil and sourdough starter. Mix until smooth and completely combined. The dough will not be sticky. Cover and let rest while you prepare the filling.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook the swiss chard until the stems are just tender, then remove and chill immediately in a bowl of ice water. Squeeze out the excess liquid and chop finely. Squeeze out the excess liquid once more.
Finely chop the parsley leaves and stems.
Break up the feta with a fork. Mix in the labneh, then the Swiss chard and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each one out into a rough circle, the edges thinner than the middle. Don’t roll it out too thin as there is little gluten development holding the dough together. Put a dollop of filling (approximately a few tbsp) on top, fold over the edges carefully. Turn over the little packet such that the seam is on the bottom. Gently pinch the edges to form a lemon shape. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Brush the shapes with a bit of beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds and nigella.
Bake for around 40 minutes or until the pastries are nicely golden. May need longer to ensure all the pastry is cooked.