Recipe: Goat Cheese with Leeks and Greens

This year, we’ve really invested in our winter garden, which is currently bursting at the seams with beautiful, fresh greens.  This is one of the best problems to have (I’m definitely not complaining), because hearty winter greens are some of my favorite things to cook with.  They can adapt to bold flavors, can put up with a good amount of heat and cooking, and best of all, they really wilt down!  What looks like a mountain of greens easily becomes a manageable meal after some cooking, which is perfect motivation for tackling that pile of chard that grows with every harvest in my fridge.

This recipe has been swirling around the back of my mind for a while now, and I finally had a chance to tackle my growing greens pile and make it this past weekend.  I added some warm spices to the greens (it’s the holidays after all), and these flavors paired so nicely with the goat cheese and the caramelized leeks.  I used some big handfuls of kale and swiss chard for my recipe, but other hearty greens (such as mustard greens, spinach, and even arugula) will also work here as well.  The resulting dish is a beautiful, cheesy spread that is perfect for topping toast or mixing into pasta, or enjoying straight as a side (similar to a creamed spinach).

This dish is perfect to add to a fall/winter rotation, and it will certainly be on mine in the weeks to come.  This recipe makes enough for meal prep (many toasts!) or a big meal of pasta loaded with greens, so it should definitely help tackle a good-sized pile of greens.  It keeps in the fridge for up to a week, so make a lot and enjoy throughout the week!

Recipe down below, photos up top and below!

Goat Cheese with Leeks and Greens

Ingredients:

  • 1 big bunch greens
    • Can include chard, kale, spinach, arugula
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup goat cheese
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp allspice

Method:

  1. Remove the green tops and the bottom (root end) of the leeks, and slice in half (lengthwise).  Wash the leeks, getting in between the layers to be sure that all the dirt has been removed.  Slice each leek half crosswise to form ¼ inch half-moon slices.  Set aside while you work on the greens.
  2. Wash and dry your hearty greens of choice (kale and Swiss chard are both great candidates here, and spinach and arugula will also be great).  Stack 3-4 leaves of greens together, then loosely roll the leaves to form a large cigar shape.  Using a sharp knife, cut the greens (across the cigar shape) to form thin (¼ – ½ inch) ribbons of greens.  Set aside in a large bowl and repeat with more greens until everything has been chopped into ribbons.
  3. In a large sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until the olive oil is fully warmed through, about 30 seconds.  Add the leeks to the oil and stir.  Continue cooking the leeks until they begin to caramelize and soften, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Once the leeks begin to soften, add the greens one handful at a time, and use tongs to incorporate into the leeks.  If you run out of room in your pan, cook the first big handful of chopped greens down a bit, then continue to add more fresh greens as the previous greens cook down.  Cook the greens until they are fully wilted and tender, stirring frequently, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and allspice to the pan with the greens and leeks, and stir to fully combine.  Cook for about 1-2 more minutes, until the spices become fragrant. 
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the greens to cool in the pan for about 5-10 minutes before adding the goat cheese (you want everything to be warm still to help stir the goat cheese in, but not so hot that the goat cheese will melt right away).  Stir to fully incorporate the goat cheese into the greens.
  7. Serve immediately either as a side of its own, as a topping for toast, or mixed into some pasta as a delightful green sauce.  Enjoy!

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