You may have noticed an occasional red mustard leaf or two in our Ranui Gardens CSA weekly salad mix. This week John is giving us an entire ½ pound. This is a gorgeous “green”, more variegated purple/green than red—though with cooking the bright purple color, disappointingly, leaches out. To preserve the color, toss the chopped greens into the rice mixture at the very end, just to wilt. Expect a spicy, peppery, substantial pilaf.
As with all greens, strip the leaves from the stems after washing. Discard the stems. If you just can’t stand throwing them to compost, chop the stems and sauté with the soysage. Soysage is my word for non-meat soy based “sausage.” I use Gimme Lean brand ground sausage style, which is readily available in grocery stores here in Park City. The flavor is so familiar that I once fooled my father-in-law, who grew up on a farm in North Dakota. As the name indicates, there is not a lot of fat in soysage, requiring a sauté with ample oil.
The pilaf recipe is a variation of one from my beloved reference cookbook, Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini, by Elizabeth Schneider. In my habit of penciled notes in the white margins of cookbooks, I jotted “excellent, double the cooking times.” I have included the additional time adjustment in the directions.
Red Mustard Green and Soysage Pilaf with Oranges and Olives
1 tablespoon plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
1 cup brown basmati rice
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon fennel or cumin seeds
2 cups vegetable broth or water
4 to 8 ounces soysage, cook’s choice
½ pound red mustard greens, washed, stems removed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
¼ cup chopped pitted green olives
½ teaspoon grated orange zest
1 orange, peeled, cut into sections, and diced
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
Heat the first tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until you see a bit of golden color, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and fennel, stirring another minute or so, but don’t let the garlic turn brown.
Add the vegetable broth, cover, and return to a boil. Lower the heat as low as possible and cook until all of the water is absorbed, about one hour. (To see if the water has been absorbed without stirring, tilt the pan to the side.) Let sit about 10 minutes; this “finishes” the rice.
While the rice is steaming, heat the remaining oil in a medium to large skillet. Cook the soysage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, until there is a golden, meat-like color to it. Set the skillet aside, but keep warm.
Prepare the mustard greens, olives, orange zest and sections and set aside. In a bowl, whisk the lemon juice and honey together.
When the rice is hot and has sat the requisite time, reheat the skillet with the soysage. Fluff the rice into the skillet with a fork, stirring in the red mustard, olives, orange zest and orange dice, along with the lemon/honey mixture, and incorporating the soysage. Serve as soon as the mustard has wilted.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.