It’s the first of the year (!?!?!). I’m not going to write about farm “goals” today.

Instead, I’ll share a new recipe that I tried last night: Middle-Eastern lamb saute with cabbage and Swiss chard.

This recipe ticks three farm and food boxes, not that we keep track of farm and food “boxes” most of the time. However, the recipe does use lamb (our favorite meat–and, alas, livestock animal), Swiss chard, and cabbage.

We always end up with too much Swiss chard. I like it, but I can’t quite shake this dreaded Swiss chard feeling whenever we harvest, freeze, or defrost some. I have several Swiss chard recipes in our regular rotation–tofu with Swiss chard and peanut sauce, pasta with Swiss chard in a goat cheese sauce, and sausage and white bean soup with (you guessed it) Swiss chard. They are all good. Why, then, do I get that dreaded Swiss chard feeling nonetheless?

We started growing cabbage only a few years ago, but have generally had productive harvests. We wasted a number of heads this year because we didn’t get them out of the ground before the first deep freeze. I used the last cabbage we picked last night. I had to cut out about half of the cabbage, but the other half was still good, although not primo cabbage because it had been in the fridge for about two months.

And then there is lamb. Sigh. Two truths can be held simultaneously: lamb and mutton are delicious, and sheep are wonderful creatures. I still can’t sort out how I feel about all this, but one thing that always comes to mind is Homer Simpson’s line from the “Lisa the Vegetarian” episode after the family goes to the zoo and Lisa realizes lamb chops come from the cute animals she’s seen at the petting zoo earlier that day: “But Lisa, this is lamb, not lamb.”

Yeah, right.

Without further ado, here is Middle-Eastern lamb saute with cabbage and Swiss chard.

Note to cooks: preparing and cooking the dreaded Swiss chard will vary depending on whether you have big stalks, frozen chard, or fresh chard with small stems. If you have big stems, cut out the stalks, slice thinly, and cook with the cabbage; roughly chop leaves and add them in later with the carrots. If you have frozen chard (like we do), roughly chop mostly frozen, partly defrosted chard blob; cook with the cabbage. If you have fresh chard with small stems, just roughly chop and toss it all in with the carrots at the end.

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 medium bunch Swiss chard (don’t ask me what medium means)
  • 1/2 small green cabbage, thinly sliced, about 3 cups
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (no, not that Cinnamon)
  • fresh squeezed orange juice from one orange (recipe called for 3 tablespoons, but I’d add more oj)
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 6 dates, roughly chopped
  • some fresh mint (I didn’t have)
  • plain yogurt (I didn’t use)

Brown lamb for about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare cabbage and Swiss chard. Add cabbage (and chard stems or frozen chard, if you went for options 1 or 2) and saute about 3 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, orange zest, salt, and cinnamon. Cook for about 1 minute. Deglaze with orange juice, scraping up browned meat bits from pan. Stir in chard leaves, carrots, dates, and mint. Cook about 3 minutes. Season to taste. Serve with more mint and yogurt. Serve over couscous or rice.

Bon farm-appetit!

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