Derek Hanson: I am Derek Hanson. I am the Chef at Nutshell restaurant in Portland, Oregon, our Vegan restaurant that doesn’t use any tofu or tempeh or imitation ingredients. We really try to focus on local, sustainable organic ingredients from the Portland area. Today we’re going to be making a Cherry Gastrique with sautéed chard for everyday dish. So what we’re going to start with is the gastrique. A gastrique is a term that means sweet and sour.
So its equal part is vinegar and sugar. Here we’re using champagne vinegar and organic unrefined sugar or evaporating cane juices, what it is also called. It’s much healthier and better for you than traditional sugar. The less processed it is, the less it is harmful to your system.
So all we’re going to do is simply combine the vinegar and the sugar in a sauce pot. Sugar is actually a liquid. But as we know sugar, it’s in its dried state. So what we’re going to do is heat it up to the point to where the sugar dissolves, this will make it more. It doesn’t take very long at all. You just want to do it on about medium heat. So we just put it on the stove, let it go. While that’s going, we’ll get our cherries and our ginger ready. We’re going to add these in once the sugar is dissolved. These are sour bing cherries, dried; you can get them at any grocery store, probably in the bulk bean section.
Then for the ginger, ginger is a real kind of naughty roots. It usually grows like this. All you want to do is snap it off. You can peel ginger with a spoon because such a thin flesh that you don’t need to use a peeler because it will take off too much. And now I do is to simply pull it back. Then it is just a little bit of waste. Then the entire thing is edible. What I’ve actually done here is I just squared off the ginger. You can use all of this scrap in any other application. I like to do the nice fine mince but if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you can always just process it in a food processor.
So it has been on the stove for about two minutes, it has come up to temperature, all the sugar has dissolved. Now we’re going to add our cherries and ginger. So we’ll just bring it over. You can come off the heat now. Just add those in. Add in all your ginger. It’s going to steep.
Now we’re going to go right into our chard so this is a variety of chard called red chard, you can also get rainbow chard, white chard. And what you want to do with this is you just wash the leaves off. Don’t use really cold water because cold water will actually freeze the cell structure of the leaves. So you want to use more of a lukewarm water, not necessarily hot but not necessarily cold either.
Now I do is to take the stem at the base, take your fingers and just pull off the leaf. Now all of this stem is edible too. We’re just going to rip up the leaves a little bit. And make sure that there’s not a lot of water on there because it’s going to get sautéed. So once you getting this, pull down, rip up your leaves, and then we’re actually going to take the stems and just chop them up. You want to chop them kind of thin so that they cook quickly. But on all chard varieties, the stems are actually quite delicious.
So over here we have a sautéed pan heating up. And you want this pan to get pretty hot. I would recommend doing it over high heat and have a little bit of oil ready. As far as cooking oil goes, you can use any kind of oil. At the restaurant, we use grape seed oil, which actually has the highest smoking temperature. This is olive oil, which will just as well.
So what we’re going to do is we’re going to add our greens before we add the oil. If we add the oil first it will burn. And we’ll have like a gasoline cars in engine flavor to it. So if you’re going to add all of the greens first, you’ll notice that there isn’t much sound. But as we add the oil, it will start to sizzle and crackle. You just kind of want to keep the greens moving. But they are going to sear a little bit and that’s okay. The nice chard quality gives it a depth of flavor, kind of similar to barbequing. So you want to keep your pan nice and hot, try not to load it down with too many greens, otherwise it’ll bring down the temperature of the pan. It does get pretty smoky. But you can see how quickly it wilted down.
Then all we’re going to do is just take a little bit of white wine and deglaze. Pull it out onto your plate. And then we’re going to take some of the gastrique that has just been sitting here. Take a spoon, I am just going to drizzle it right over the top. Now if you want to, you can just simply wipe out your pan, add your stems in. And just give these a quickly little sautéed, little bit of pepper in there. And these actually take just a little bit longer to cook than the greens.
So that it is the nice little garnish for the top. And this is where -- there is actually more nutrients in the stem than in the actual leaves. So I would definitely recommend cooking up, same thing with herbs, things like that, the stem has more nutrients and more flavor but the reason it is not more commonly used is just because of the texture of it. It is a bit more, you know, fibrous, more to chew on but for the health benefits, I definitely recommend using the stems as much as possible. The hearts of vegetables, the corn, that’s where most of the nutrients live. I am just going to spoon some of the stem over the top.
At the restaurant, we serve these on top of creamy polenta. And then a little bit of balsamic vinegar or something like that is really nice on top. If you want to fancy, you can do a little bit of aged balsamic vinegar, which is really nice and syrupy, may be a little bit of cracked pepper on top. And that’s it.
So this is the Red Chard with a sautéed cherry ginger gastrique.