Creamy Mashed Potato and Chard
This is an ideal accompaniment to roast pork or cutlets, and to fish like sea bream, sea bass and red mullet.
Plunging the chard into cold water after blanching ensures that it keeps its colour - this isn't essential but it's useful if you want to cook the chard in advance. It's important to mash the potatoes while they are hot, as this makes them creamier and less lumpy. Adding the 'three fats' as I call them (cream, butter, olive oil) helps with this too.
|800g||Swiss chard, washed|
|30ml||extra virgin olive oil|
|2||cloves of garlic, crushed|
|1||fresh red chilli, very finely chopped|
|For the mashed potato|
|4||good-quality medium potatoes|
|sea salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|40ml||extra virgin olive oil|
|For the gravy:|
|25ml||extra virgin olive oil|
|1||stick of celery, diced|
|½||an onion, diced|
|1||sprig of fresh thyme|
|1 ltr||beef stock|
Peel the potatoes and cut into big chunks, then put them into a pan of cold salted water with the bay leaf and bring to the boil. When cooked through, drain and mash. While the potatoes are cooking, put the cream, butter and olive oil into another saucepan and put on a medium-low heat. Stir occasionally and when almost boiling, add the mashed potatoes and mix together with a whisk over a low heat. Taste for seasoning and creaminess. Always add the fats to the potato when warm - they mix together and absorb flavour better.
To make the gravy, put the olive oil into a a pan and cook the vegetables very gently with the herbs until they are mushy - the softer they are, the sweeter they will become, which will give the gravy more flavour. Add the wine and cook until the alcohol has evaporated, then add the beef stock and cook until the gravy is sauce-like but not too thick or sticky. Press through a sieve into a small pan and keep warm on a low heat, with the lid on so it doesn't reduce any further.
Separate the stalks and leaves of the chard. Blanch the whole stalks in boiling water until soft (keeping them as whole as possible stops them losing flavour), then remove to a bowl of iced water. Blanch the leaves too, then add these to the iced water. Drain the chard, and chop the stalks imto 3-4cm pieces. Put the olive oil into a pan on a low heat, add the chard, and fry with the crushed garlic and chilli for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Lay the chard on top of the mashed potato and pour the warmed gravy on top.