When I think of tacos, I think of one of two things: (a) a long given up guilty pleasdure -- Taco Bell and (b) ground beef and lettuce and tomatoes and . . . tacos. Yes, I have had others -- lovely duck tacos once and various variations. In Mexican and related restaurants I often get mole, and I have even made tacos with left over chicken mole. But, I think of various meats and tortillas . . . not chard. Most definitely not chard. But, I was wrong. There I was some time ago, reading a cookbook I like a lot entitled The Organic Cook's Bible by Jeff Cox and right there on pages 98 and 99 is a recipe for . . . chard tacos. I read the recipe I read it again. I thought about how much I have always wanted to go to one of Rick Bayless's restaurants and how I never have. For, yes, the recipe was from Rick Bayless. I read it again. And, I thought, we have most of the ingredients. So: I got hte remaining ingredients and then. . . I made them -- and I have done it again and again because these are great. They redefine tacos and they redefine chard. While I like both, this is a whole new thing.
So, here's how, with a bit of commentary, with thanks to that lovely cookbook:
1. Buy chard (a bunch; I have used rainbow chard and regular green chard). And buy 3-4 pobalno peppers. I bought my first set at Wegmans, and they were okay. But, then, I bought my second set at the farmer's market and let me tell you -- they were loads better. Also buy the rest of the ingredients -- a white onion (Ok, I have used shallots and once a red onion), dried oregano (he calls for Mexican; I have no idea what I had and used), dried thyme (I have never had this on hand so left it out), tortillas, chicken stock, red potatoes (he calls for 3-4), garlic 2/3 cup of heavy cream, and some cheese (I used paneer -- an Indian cheese, the first time because that's what I had and then cojita because I wanted to; he calls for queso fresco or salter farmer's cheese).
2. And what should you do with the ingredients? Here's a modified version of what it says in the cookbook (on pages 98-99):
Roast the poblanos and peel them and then slice into thinnish strips.
Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oils and saute sliced onion (about 1/4 inch thick) or whatever you are substituting for a while and then add finely schopped garlic (2 cloves or so), oregano and (if you have it) thyme. Once you feel good about all this, add the poblano strips and remove the whole thing from the heat
Cook the potatoes you have chopped into 1/2 inch cubes in 3/4 cup (I use ore) chicken stock until almost done.
Return the poblano/onion mixture to heat and add potatoes and stick they cooked in. Add chard, which you have chopped into 1/2 inch strips, likely removing the stems unless they are pretty small. Cover for a tiny bit so that they cook down and fit into your skillet (if you are like me and use too small a skillet sometimes). Cook until chicken broth is evaporated. Add the cream and boil until reduced to a thickish sauce. (NOTE: Some people who I feed really like it more runny than Bayless's recipe might lead one toward. In my case, I actually add some more broth and some times more cream. But, do what you want!) Sprinkle some salt o, though. These definitely want some salt.
Bayless via Cox says to warm your tortillas ahead of time by steaming them and keeping them warm under a towel in the oven. Me, well, I throw some salt in a skillet, and cook them til they're a little crunchy/brown, and serve. You can put the cheese (chredded) first, add chard mixture, and if you happen to be lucky, add some home made tomatillo salsa.
Caution: these are addictive and slightly messy if you do go with a somewhat more runny mixture. But hey, this addiction can pretend to be a tad healthy given the chard, right? And potatoes have a lot of vitami C and. . . .
Wowzers. Tacos redefined.