Okay, so it’s not exactly “Hey, you got your chocolate in my peanut butter!” territory, but it’s close.
Over high heat, the rhubarb breaks down quickly, dissolving into a sauce that slicks the dark, tannic greens; those tannins—and the rhubarb’s citrusy tang—work to balance the rich sausage; the mustard seeds weigh in with a little pop of heat; and suddenly, four things you’d never think of eating together are slinging some crazy, spring synergy.
Seriously, we liked this quick, one-pan meal so much we’re going to freeze some rhubarb so we can enjoy it with the fall crop of chard, when we’ll probably sub in shallots for the super-seasonal scallions and green garlic.
One-Pan Sausage-Chard-Rhubarb Dinner
If you’re using baby chard, just wash and dry the leaves, since you’ll use those whole. But if you’ve got the full-grown stuff, trim out the ribs before you wash the leaves. Give the leaves a rough chop, and discard or reserve the ribs for another use (pickles!). Always toss rhubarb leaves, though; they’re toxic to humans and pets.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 Italian sausages (we preferred hot, but use sweet if you’d rather)
- 3 scallions, chopped (I used mostly the white parts, with just a bit of the green)
- 1 medium stalk of green garlic, chopped (white part only; or one clove of regular garlic)
- 2 tsp mustard seeds (or less, to taste)
- about 1 pound of Swiss chard
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced rhubarb stalks
- splash of a good lager or dark beer
- kosher salt, to taste
Use a skillet big enough to accommodate all the greens. If you have a high-sided option, use it, since the sausages may spatter a bit.
Warm the olive oil in the pan over medium-high heat. With a toothpick or fork, poke a few holes in each of the sausage links so they don’t split open as they brown. Pan fry the sausages until they’re cooked through and browned on all sides. Remove them to a plate and cover with foil.
To the same pan—no rinsing or wiping required—add the chopped scallions. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 2-3 minutes, until they’re good and soft. Stir in the green garlic and the mustard seeds, and keep those moving for another couple minutes.
Hit the pan with a good splash (an ounce or so) of the beer, turn the heat up a notch, and scrape up any browned bits from the pan.
Add the rhubarb, a pinch of salt, and then the greens. If your pan can’t handle all the leaves at once, work by the handful, adding more as the preceding bunch wilts. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes. Take a bite and add more salt/pepper to taste.
Serve as a bed under the sausages, alongside some crusty bread, if you like.
What to Drink?
The rest of that beer’s a good start, but this little Grignolino d’Asti from Gianni Doglia really hit the spot. Beautifully rubied (raspberry-red, not red-red), sprightly, and surprisingly complex—with a zip of acidity and a nip of tannins. Might be the perfect summertime, mixed-grill bottle.