Sprint

Chard, Sausage and Gruyere Triangles top

No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I’m just getting ready for the sprint.

I come from a longish line of long-distance runners. Much to the chagrin of my grandfather, I always sucked at running. There’s not really a better word for it. I don’t mean that I didn’t win at running, I mean I sucked: I didn’t have the strength to go fast or the endurance to go long, the coordination to look graceful or the heart to try hard. I never liked running for exercise, and when the rheumatologist told me all joint-pounding activities are out for good, I breathed a sigh of relief.

But sprinting – I was never nearly as bad at sprinting. If I have positive evidence that physical effort has a precise, imminent end, I can handle it. No need to delve into the implications of my athletic laziness, that’s already been established and accepted. But I can make a decent mad dash across a rainy grocery store parking lot.

Anyway, it’s starting to look like I’m a good long-distance cook. (I wonder what Granddad would say about that.) And with thirteen recipes to go, I feel pretty safe saying I’ve reached the final sprint.

Just have to make sure my shoelaces are tied.

Chard, Sausage and Gruyere Triangles 1

Chard, Sausage, and Gruyere Triangles (PDF)
Recipe 352 of 365

Here’s an unusual incarnation of spanikopita, made with wintry chard and fennel-studded Italian sausage, and gruyere instead of the more traditional feta cheese. To split up the work, make the filling the night before and thaw the phyllo dough overnight in the fridge, then mix the cheese in and assemble the triangles before serving.

You can also freeze assembled triangles on a baking sheet until firm, then freeze up to 2 months in a sealed container. To bake from frozen, increase baking time to 25 to 30 minutes.

TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes active time
MAKES: about 3 dozen triangles

1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
1 large onion, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound cleaned, chopped chard (from a 1-pound bag of pre-trimmed chard, or 1 1/2 pounds untrimmed chard)
6 ounces Gruyere, Emmenthaler, or Swiss cheese, grated
1 (1-pound) package phyllo sheets, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
Olive oil, as needed

Heat a large, heavy pot (something big enough to fit all the chard) over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, and cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving most of its grease in the pot, and set aside. Decrease heat to medium. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chard, season with salt and pepper, stir to blend, and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove lid, and cook and stir until the chard is completely wilted and has given up all its water, another 15 minutes or so. Remove from heat and let the chard cool for a few minutes.

When cool enough to handle, transfer the greens to a food processor, and whirl until pureed. Add the reserved sausage, and pulse 15 times. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (If you’re making the filling a day ahead, refrigerate this mixture.) Stir in the cheese until well distributed, and set aside.

Before you begin assembling the triangles, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. Fill a small bowl with olive oil, and clear a large work space.

Working with three sheets of phyllo at a time (keep the other sheets covered in plastic, then with a tea towel, to prevent them from drying out), begin rolling triangles: Place one phyllo sheet on a large, clean working surface, and brush the entire surface with a thin layer of olive oil. Stack another phyllo sheet on top, so the corners more or less line up, and brush that sheet with oil. Repeat with the third sheet, then flip all three sheets over, so the oily side is down. Using a large knife or pizza roller, cut the stack of phyllo pieces into six equal strips the short way. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling at the bottom of each strip.

filling Chard, Sausage and Gruyere Triangles

Working with one strip at a time, fold one bottom corner of the strip over the filling until it meets the opposite edge, forming a triangle, like you’re starting to fold a flag.

Chard, Sausage and Gruyere Triangles first fold

Continue rolling the triangle up the length of the strip, winding the phyllo around the filling over and over again to seal it in. When you reach the end, smooth the ends around the triangle, and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining strips, then repeat layering and folding processes with remaining phyllo and filling.

Bake triangles for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cooked triangles can be reheated for 5 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Note: To make larger triangles, cut the phyllo dough into four strips, and fill each triangle with a heaping quarter cup of filling. Bake as directed.

Chard, Sausage and Gruyere Triangles 4

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5 Comments

Filed under appetizers, pork, vegetables

5 responses to “Sprint

  1. allison

    What is next for you, after the sprint? I found your site a few months ago and find great inspiration here – both in your ability to stay out of a food rut and in your stick-to-it-iveness. I’d have given up long ago.

    I do hope you’ll continue writing & posting recipes after whatever hiatus you deem necessary. Both your writing & recipes are great. Thanks for sharing and sticking with it.

  2. Thanks, Allison – it’ll be more of the same, only less frequently. When I *really* have something to say, instead of every. single. day.

  3. I might be inspired to sprint if a tray of these triangles from heaven were waiting for me at the end. And I agree with Allison–bully to you for sticking with it!

  4. s*

    I know I’m 2.5 years late reading this post, but I told you I was starting over from the beginning. Jess, your ‘athletic laziness’ is an insane idea. You and your wolf far outstrip my athletic motivation. I can’t tell you the last time I went skiing. (1994?) The thought of being outside all day exerting all that energy makes me tired enough before I even leave the house that a nap is required. Kudos to you. Always.

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