RECIPE: Chard & Chorizo Pie

One of the mysteries of veg-growing that I’ve never been able to figure out: rainbow chard versus silverbeet (Swiss chard). I’ve bought both varieties in seed form, both having these separate names on the seed packet. They may have different names, but both grow in the same season and they end up looking pretty similar, so I’m totally stumped as to what the difference is.

I do like to propagate rainbow chard, if only because its mixed colours make the garden look pretty. I like my garden to be functional and to look pretty. It makes life feel nice in a world that’s, at times, a bit fucked. The rich colours of rainbow chard in winter sure pick me up, or maybe it’s the high iron levels in this leafy green. Whatever the case may be, I love chard, silverbeet, Swiss chard, whatever you want to call it. You could make a vegetarian version of this dish by omitting the chorizo, but I just love the odd ‘sprinkle’ of chorizo in a meal.

Serves 4

What you need

  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/. cup) olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 50 g (1. oz) butter
  • 4 cups chopped rainbow chard
  • 150 g (5. oz) chorizo (page 49), chopped
  • 90 g (3 oz/1 cup) grated pecorino
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • handful of chives, snipped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 125 g (4. oz/1 cup) grated cheddar

Shortcrust pastry

  • 100 g (3. oz) butter, diced
  • 200 g (7 oz/11⁄3 cups) plain (all-purpose) fl our, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 small egg, lightly beaten

How to make it

To make the shortcrust pastry, whizz the butter and flour in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. With the processor still running, slowly pour in the egg and let the processor do all the work for you. The mixture should bind together to form a lump of dough. If it doesn’t quite pull together, add small amounts of chilled water until it does. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C (430 degrees F) and grease a 23 cm pie dish.

Heat half the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, then gently cook the onion and garlic for 15 minutes, or until softened. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

In the same frying pan, melt the knob of butter with the remaining olive oil over medium heat, then add the chard, cooking it until it wilts right down. Remove from the heat and add to the onion and garlic.

In the same pan, fry the chorizo for a few minutes, then add to the mixing bowl.

Roll out the shortcrust pastry on a floured bench and use it to line the prepared pie dish. Trim the edges and poke the bottom of the pastry with a fork. Line the pastry with baking paper, half-fill with dried beans or uncooked rice and blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and baking paper and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until golden.

Turn the oven down to 180 degrees C (360 degrees F). Add the pecorino, eggs and two-thirds of the chives to the chard mixture and stir through well. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into the pastry shell and top with the cheddar. Bake for 30 minutes, or until set, then allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving with a garnish of the remaining chives.

This is an excerpt from A Year of Practiculture by Rohan Anderson. It’s out now and published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $49.95.

Pic by Kate Berry