cooking Creativity Food

Foodie Friday: Meatball Ragout with Swiss Chard


I make a mean swiss chard smoothie. Swiss chard, banana, blueberry, green tea, protein powder. Mmmm. Mmmm. But even I get tired of that concoction after a while.

So what does one do when the local CSA delivers so much swiss chard your crisper drawer won’t close?

Hey Siri: Find me a recipe for swiss chard.

A quick internet search recently took me to the Blue Apron website and a tasty recipe for Meatball Ragout with Swiss Chard.

It’s a surprising dish, I think because of the blend of spices used in the meatballs: onion powder, paprika, ground fennel, celery seed, garlic powder, marjoram, and cayenne pepper. This is not your Italian grandma’s meatball!

According to meal kit service Blue Apron, “the word ragout comes from the French ragoûter, which means to revive the taste or appetite.” And indeed, this make a satisfying supper, especially for the chilly nights we’ve been enjoying lately.

I modified the recipe slightly to my own tastes and tolerances — and ingredients I had on-hand — but I’ll include a link to the complete recipe below.

Not included in that version is the insistence that you serve this with a loaf of crusty bread and your favorite, lush red wine.

Meatball Ragout with Swiss Chard

10 oz ground beef
1 carrot
1/2 yellow onion
1 sweet potato
½ bunch swiss chard, rinsed
2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped
a splash (or two) of red wine
1 tablespoon of flour
¼ cup plain panko breadcrumbs

4 parts onion powder
4 parts sweet paprika
4 parts ground fennel seeds
2 parts celery seeds
2 parts garlic powder
1 part whole dried marjoram
1 part ground cayenne pepper

Peel the carrot, and thinly slice. Chop the onion finely, and dice the sweet potato. Roughly chop the swiss chard leaves, then thinly slice the stems, keeping them separate. Make and set aside a slurry with the flour (or cornstarch) and ¼ cup of water.

For the meatballs, mix the ground beef, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, and spice mix. Then form 12-14 equal-sized meatballs, about 1″ round. Brown them in olive oil, 4-6 minutes, until browned on all sides, then transfer to a plate.

Add the sweet potato to the pan — leaving all the browned bits for flavor — season with salt and pepper, and cook until lightly browned. Add the carrots, onion, and swiss chard stems. Cook 4-6 minutes until softened, then add the sundried tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, 1-2 minutes.

Finally, add the meatballs back into the pan, along with the chard leaves, red wine, and 1-1/2 cups of water. Cook for about one minute, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan for any remaining browned bits.

Bring to a boil and add the slurry while stirring to blend. Reduce the heat and cook 2-4 more minutes until the broth has thickened slightly. Season to taste and serve.

This is a delicious supper, a tasty leftover tomorrow night — or add a poached egg to the bowl and consider it a protein-rich breakfast to substitute that swiss chard smoothie! Enjoy!

(Click here to read the original Blue Apron recipe with more detailed instructions.)

Essay ©2020, Jen Payne. Recipe ©2020, Blue Apron.

2 replies on “Foodie Friday: Meatball Ragout with Swiss Chard”

This recipe was fantastic and perfect for using up my CSA veggies. I didn’t have any sundried tomatoes, so I used a little beef bullion, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, and jamaican jerk sauce to taste, and the sweet savory spicy flavors went perfect with the vegetables, especially the sweet potato.

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