Swiss chard rice cakes on liquorice coconut curry

Peter Gordon serves up a tasty vegetarian dish, transforming classic winter ingredients with the addition of some more exotic flavours
By Peter Gordon
Swiss chard rice cakes on liquorice coconut curry
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes plus cooling time
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the crispy fried swiss chard rice cakes

  • 900 ml vegetable stock, approximately
  • avocado oil, for frying
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 handfuls fresh herbs, (such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage), coarsely chopped
  • 30 g peeled ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 250 g risotto rice
  • 300 g Swiss chard, leaves finely shredded, stalks finely chopped
  • 2 tsp flakes sea salt
  • polenta, for coating

For the Chinese liquorice coconut curry

  • 5 g dried Chinese liquorice root
  • 2 lime leaves
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • green cardamom, pounded
  • 1 stalks lemongrass, sliced
  • 150 g cooked pumpkin flesh
  • 300 ml coconut milk

For the pumpkin currant relish

  • 1 large pumpkin
  • 3 tbsp avocado oil
  • 150 g red onions, finely sliced
  • 50 g peeled ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 50 g currants
  • 80 ml sherry vinegar

For the roast beetroot

  • 800 g candy stripe/chioggia beetroot, washed (reserve the leaves)
  • 100 ml cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, leaves only

Method

1. For the crispy fried swiss chard rice cakes: preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Put the vegetable stock into a small saucepan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer over a low heat.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons avocado oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a moderate heat and lightly fry the onion until softened and barely coloured. Add the herbs, ginger and mustard seeds and fry another minute.

3. Add the rice, chopped chard stalks and sea-salt flakes and cook for 20 seconds, stirring all the time.

4. Ladle in one quarter (about 1 cupful) of the simmering stock and stir. Turn the heat to a simmer and leave until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. Stir in another cup of stock and leave it to be absorbed as before.

5. Keep cooking the rice in this way until it is al dente and you have used all, or most, of the stock, then add the chard leaves and remove the pan from the heat. Season with freshly ground black pepper and more sea salt, if necessary, then spread the mixture out on a tray to cool down.

6. Divide the cooled rice mixture into 8 portions and roll each portion into a ball. Coat each ball with polenta, then flatten slightly.

7. Heat a heavy-based fry-pan over moderate heat and add avocado oil to 1cm depth. Put in as many rice cakes as will fit comfortably and cook until lightly coloured on one side, then carefully flip over and brown the other side. Transfer to a baking tray while you colour the other cakes.

8. Bake the rice cakes for 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness.

9. For the Chinese liquorice coconut curry: put all the ingredients into a saucepan, bring to a boil, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes.

10. Blend in a blender and then pass through a fine sieve. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

11. For the pumpkin currant relish: preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Line a large roasting dish with parchment paper.

12. Put the pumpkin on your work surface and, using either a hammer and screwdriver, or a knife-sharpening steel, poke 2 holes in the top of the pumpkin to allow the steam to escape during baking.

13. Put the pumpkin in the lined roasting dish and bake until you can insert a thin sharp knife through the flesh easily. A 2kg pumpkin will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

14. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the outside and lift the top off - it may still be quite hot. Scoop out the seeds and discard them, then leave the shell to cool completely before cutting it into chunks and peeling the skin off.

15. Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion, ginger and garlic over a low heat until caramelised. Add the currants and sherry vinegar and cook to evaporate most of the vinegar, stirring frequently. Mix in the pumpkin and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

16. For the roast beetroot: preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

17. Put the beetroot in a saucepan of cold water with the vinegar and boil for 15-25 minutes, depending on size.

18. Plunge the beetroot into iced water then rub off the skins, using a knife if it's stubborn. Cut the peeled beetroot into wedges.

19. Toss the beetroot wedges with the oil, garlic, cumin and thyme and put in a roasting dish just large enough to hold it all. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring from time to time.

20. To serve, spoon a little liquorice coconut curry onto a plate, top with 2 crispy swiss chard rice cakes and serve with a spoonful of roast beetroot and a dollop of pumpkin currant relish.

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