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.
cooking Creativity Food

Foodie Friday: Miso Corn Sauté

Foodie Friday: Miso Corn Sauté

The radio and I have a long history of discovery. Several bars of music led me to Nanci Griffith and Jenny Owen Youngs. There are plenty of books on my bookshelf recommended by one guest author or another, like Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and David Sedaris’ Holidays on Ice.

Recipes, too, find their way onto my Look It Up list via the radio. It goes something like this:

Mmm. That sounds good.
Mmm. I have those ingredients at home.
Mmm. I could make that!

Such was the case last week as I was listening to an interview with Kathy Gunst about summer vegetables on Here and Now. I was just getting off Exit 54 as she excitedly explained…

“And then, this was a revelation, I sauteed fresh corn kernels off the cob with a little bit of butter and fresh ginger and white miso paste. So, miso is full of umami, it’s very very full flavored, and I thought ‘would miso and corn work’? Well, the answer is absolutely yes. This is a five minute recipe that you can eat on its own, sprinkled over grilled fish, ramen, soups, rice dishes. Really straight-forward.”

So I made it for supper. No recipe – just the simple recollection of “corn, butter, ginger, miso.” It was delicious!

If you’re like me, you’re a corn purist: boil, butter, salt, eat. But, for those moments you think: what else can I do with this? Definitely try this recipe for Miso Corn Sauté. Trust me.


2 ears fresh corn
1-1/2 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 scallion, finely chopped, white and green sections
1 tablespoon white or light miso paste


  1. Strip the husks and silk off the corn. Hold corn up in a large bowl, narrow tip up, and, using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the cob.
  2. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the ginger and half the scallions and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the miso paste and using a spoon, stir together to create a smooth paste. Cook 2 minutes. Add the corn and stir to coat all the kernels; cook 2 minutes.
  3. Serve hot sprinkled with the remaining scallion.

For the complete episode of “Find Solace In Your Summer Harvest With 4 Delicious Dishes,” including the broadcast recording and recipes, click here.