Swiss Chard and an Accidental Recipe Discovery

It is thought that Horace Walpole, who lived in the eighteenth century and was the son of the first British Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, was the first to coin the word “serendipity.” Serendipity occurs when you are looking for one thing and you find something valuable that is not related to your search. Horace Walpole derived the word from a Persian fairy tale from the Middle Ages, “The Three Princes of Serendip.” The stories are about three princes of a kingdom who together travel abroad to further their education at the behest of their father, the king. I heartily recommend Googling “The Three Princes of Serendip” for further information and to read excerpts from the stories.

Well, I was looking for one thing and found another. I was specifically looking for aluminum foil to line the baking pan so that I could make panko coated chicken thighs (I bake them at 400 degrees for around 45 minutes to an hour) and not have too much trouble cleaning up the roasting pan afterwards. Unfortunately I did not have enough foil left to adequately cover the pan, and was not about to run out to the store to buy more. What I did have was an abundance of swiss chard. I removed the stems, washed the leaves very carefully, and layered them in the roasting pan, draining out as much water as possible. Then I coated the chicken pieces, and put them on top of the leaves. It was a little odd, because the leaves did not stay flat, but I did it anyway. I then baked the chicken as I normally do.

When it was finished baking, I placed the chicken on a serving plate, and mixed the swiss chard, along with the panko that remained on it and some of the drippings, in a bowl, and put it on the dinner table along with whatever else we were having, At first no one was willing to try it, but then after trying tiny bits, they all had some more. I thought it was so good, and a nice alternative to my usual recipe for swiss chard involving garlic and olive oil, among other ingredients. Cleanup was pretty easy, and I did not use a resource, aluminum, that would otherwise need to be recycled.

I hope you find your serendipitous recipes as delicious as mine!