CSA Chronicles: Week 1 & a Recipe for Lemon Sorrel Risotto

I finally got brave this year and signed up for a CSA. Every Wednesday, we pick up a lovely little box packed to the gills with fresh, delicious produce from Tangleroot Farm in Essex, NY. I’ve wanted to participate in a CSA for years now, but in years when I was living alone or traveling too much, it just didn’t make any sense. However, for the two of us, this half-share is perfect! My favorite thing in the world is when my fridge is full and I have to figure out how to piece the stuff in there into a real, substantial meal that sounds good to both of us. Thus, a CSA is like a dream come true.

Of course, it’s bound to have its downside when we’re up to our ears in fresh produce that I can’t bear to waste (one of my biggest pet peeves). But we’ll figure that out once we get to that point! We already decided that stir fry would likely be one of our go-tos this summer as we try to use up lots of odds and ends. And we’re totes on board with that.

Since half the fun of this is in creating new meals inspired by the ingredients in these boxes, I’ve decided to start writing about our box each week and the new recipes that we create from them!

Week 1 was last week, and I was so excited/overwhelmed that I didn’t even take a single picture. But here’s what we did in week 1.

Week 1 CSA Share
scallions
lemon sorrel
cilantro
kale
red leaf lettuce
radishes
bok choy
broccolini

It was all so gorgeous and green and flavorful!

Here’s how we used it all

Scallions: Risotto (see recipe below!) and Chicken & Bok Choy Stir Fry

Lemon Sorrel: Risotto. This was definitely our tough ingredient of the week since neither of us had ever had it before. It was a little like spinach but had a seriously lemony bite. Luke thought it tasted a lot like granny smith apples—he wasn’t wrong. While the risotto was delicious, we think that next time we might just juice it instead… it would really up the sweet/sour flavors!

Cilantro: Chicken & Bok Choy Stir Fry

Kale: We used this in our morning smoothies and the risotto. Still working on finishing the last couple leaves!

Red Leaf Lettuce: Lots of salads, burgers, and shared some with my parents!

Radishes: These went into the Chicken & Bok Choy Stir Fry. Radishes are deeelish sauteed…their sweet side comes out.

Bok Choy: We made a Chicken and Bok Choy Stir Fry. So easy and yummy.

Broccolini: tbd. These guys are still hanging out in the fridge begging to be used asap.

We had to get pretty creative with the lemon sorrel. With Father’s Day, I figured we could come up a tasty side dish. I’ve never been brave/patient enough to attempt a stovetop risotto and while mid-summer was probably not the best time to try, it turned out to be truly yummy. A very different flavor than we’re used to. And it ended up pairing with the grilled beef tenderloin very well.

After researching lemon sorrel a bit, we found that it oxidizes quickly (think how basil turns brown really fast in heat), so we knew that we needed to be cautious about how added the sorrel to the hot risotto pot to retain its gorgeous green color. That was when we had the idea to create a rough “pesto” with the leaves and add them to the risotto after it had been removed from the heat at the end of cooking. The risotto turned out to be a brilliant green color and the lemon flavor balanced out the spiciness of the veggie mixture perfectly.

If you ever get your hands on some lemon sorrel, you’ve gotta try this recipe. And don’t fear the stirring…think of it as your arm workout for the day!

Lemon Sorrel & Kale Risotto

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6-8 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 2-3 cups lemon sorrel leaves, tightly packed
  • 1 cup kale leaves, tightly packed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 stalks of celery, small dice
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 3-5 scallions, small dice
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan

Instructions

  1. In a blender, add lemon sorrel , kale and 1 tbsp olive oil. Pulse until a rough "pesto" has formed. You want small bits, but not fully combined.
  2. In a small pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil then lower to low heat to keep wamr
  3. In a medium size pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add in the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, celery and yellow onion. Stir to coat and let saute down for 5 minutes until onions are translucent.
  4. Add the arborio and scallions to the pot. Stir to coat and add salt & pepper to taste. Pour in the wine and let it absorb.
  5. Once the wine has absorbed, add the warm chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time. Continue to stir so that the rice never sticks to the bottom. Continue until all broth has been used.
  6. Add the lemon sorrel-kale pesto mixture and the shredded parmesan. Stir to combine fully. Serve warm.
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