A Homegrown Lunch: It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This

There is nothing more thrilling or satisfying to me than when I manage to make a meal entirely of my own homegrown/homemade ingredients.  My impromptu lunch today was just such a meal and I was inspired to share.  This is just about the easiest, healthiest, and most delicious thing in the world to make and any of you can do it.  Lacking chickens or a garden, all of these ingredients are readily available at any good market, but my real hope is to inspire some of you to get out there and grow some food of your own!

Sauteed Bright Lights Chard with Bacon, Lemon, and an Egg

serves 1

  • 2 slices bacon
  • 2 cloves garlic. mined or crushed
  • 4 or 5 good-sized leaves of Bright Lights or rainbow chard (actually any kind will do… I just like the pretty colors!), leaves and stems roughly chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • splash of chicken stock or water
  • 1 large, fresh, free-range egg
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Cut bacon into lardons and cook in a large sautee pan over medium heat until slightly browned.  Drain off any extra fat, leaving a tablespoon or so in the pan.  Add garlic and sizzle briefly, then immediately turn heat down to medium-low and add chard, tossing to coat with bacon fat.  Sautee until chard starts to lose some of its moisture, then toss in a splash of chicken stock or water, season liberally with salt and pepper, and cover pan.  Allow chard to braise for a few minutes until it is tender but still bright green.  Do not overcook or chard will be slimy.  When it is almost done, uncover, stir in the lemon juice, taste and adjust for seasoning, then move the chard into the center of the pan and make a “nest” for the egg.  Carefully crack the egg into the center of the nest, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and replace the lid.  Allow the egg to cook until desired doneness, which in my opinion should be a barely-set white and a totally liquid center, but to each his own.  Check the egg for doneness frequently by peering under the lid and perhaps gently prodding it with a spatula or your finger to feel the consistency.  Eggs can be overcooked in a flash, so keep a close watch.  When the egg is ready, uncover the pan and slide the whole thing onto your plate, keeping the nest and egg intact.  And, voila!  Lunch.

Serve with nice, crusty bread and lovely pastured butter, if you have it.  I didn’t today, so I went bread-less, and was a sadder person for it.

*note: everything about this recipe up to you… use more or less garlic, or substitute a little diced onion instead.  Vinegar can be used in place of the lemon juice, and you can poach your egg separately and place it on top of the plated chard if you wish, though that would require washing a second pan, which is just not going to happen at my house.

This is one of my favorite things to make right now because it is so fast, easy, and yummy.  Today I used my homemade bacon (I didn’t grow the pig, but it was local pastured pork!  someday I will grow my own pork, mark my words), garlic from my garden, chard from my garden, an egg from my chickens, and a meyer lemon from my parents’ tree (they brought me a bag of lemons when they came to visit for my birthday).  Everything tastes better when you grow it yourself, and it really is satisfying to truly feel like – “I made this!”  Have I inspired you yet?  Get out there and grow something!!

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4 thoughts on “A Homegrown Lunch: It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This

  1. I’m getting ready to leave work for home and wasn’t hungry until I see your great photograph of colorful, healthy, freshness. YUUUUMMY!!!

    That looks wonderful. I too want to raise my own pork. I’ve been reading up on what would be the best breed.

    I want spots, smaller size, good temperment, tasty with a good fat to lean meat ratio.

    You SO inspire me to raise my own. If I could just bring myself to eat one of my dual purpose un-named big fat fuzzy butts. Maybe the barred rock who has taken it upon herself to pick on my sweet red star (sex link).

    I kicked her out of the run to free-range by herself last night unsupervised and there she was running back and forth in front of the gate in the dark at lock down. I guess there weren’t any red tail or coyote in site.

  2. glad to inspire :) you should totally eat your mean barred rock. if you do it, maybe I’ll stop being such a lamo and actually eat my stupid, useless extra rooster. I currently have no excuse for not doing it, since the baby coop is now free for his isolation. keep me posted!

    p.s. there are so many cool breeds of heritage pigs! Gloucester One Spot, maybe? Or Berkshires… let me know if you get some! I have been reading a book on keeping pigs too. I will do it some day. I want turkeys too, but the only trouble is apparently they are very cute and love you like dogs and want to be your friends. That might make them a tad hard to eat… some pioneer woman I am!

  3. hmmm… somehow I wasn’t logged in to my own site when I wrote my first response, so I don’t know how it looks to a reader or whether you got any notification of my response. Consider this your notification! You can go to the site and read my response if it didn’t come through to you the first time.

  4. Yes – GOS (Gloucestershire Old Spots) is just the pigs – heritage breed hogs I have been reading about.

    See here: http://heritagehogblog.com/breeds/gos/

    I’m out on 4 acres, so have plenty of room. I would need to beef up the fencing to keep the hogs in and the coyote out.

    FYI – I didn’t get a notice about your new post nor did I get a notice to go confirm my post. Usually, I have to go confirm and then select that I want to receive comment updates.

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