Today marks the beginning of Lent. And that means one thing in this part of the world – that yesterday was Pancake Day, meaning it was pancakes for dinner last night! Our flavour of choice? Farcous, or swiss chard pancakes.
The origin of Pancake Day is simple – to use up all the fats in ones larder before the start of Lent, a period of time in which indulgence is traditionally given up. In England the traditional pancake is a thin crepe-like creation, flavoured with lemon and dusted with powdered sugar.
In our house we tend to eat savoury pancakes for dinner on Pancake Day. In January I came across an Instagram post for “farcous” – swiss chard pancakes – and knew that would be our meal last night.
Farcous is from the Aveyron region of France, in the Southwest. The closest I have travelled to Aveyron is Pau, back in 2007. Sadly I do not have any scenic photos from that trip – it was an awards ceremony, followed by a tasty meal with my bosses and a group trip to purchase bottles of Armagnac as souvenirs of the day. But here’s a throwback photo to that southwestern France memory from January 2007.
I took my guidance from the French blog Gourmandise sans Frontieres. As we just had a serious Bacon Fest at our place on Saturday (more on that soon!) I made a version of farcous featuring pork. I also read a bit on some other English speaking blogs written about Farcous and decided that I would make use of my Magimix (food processor) to whiz the ingredients together (except the bacon pieces) to try to get as green of a pancake as possible. You can easily leave the bacon out for a meatless meal.
Our farcous was super tasty, although my photograph does not do it justice in the slightest. It just winds up looking like browned food! I really need to think about staging photos a bit better. Perhaps once the lights in my kitchen are fixed!
The recipe was super easy and used up many bits and pieces in our fridge. We served the farcous with leftover roasted pumpkin and a dollop of sour cream (crème fraiche would work too, as would plain yoghurt). I am definitely adding this to our list of simple weeknight suppers.
4 to 6 leaves of swiss chard (do not use the middle rib)
A bunch of parsley (to taste)
1 clove of garlic
1 small onion
1 tsp mustard
200ml milk (you can substitute water)
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
ground black pepper to taste
180g bacon, if using (we used already roasted pork belly bacon that we had leftover)
Whiz all of the wet ingredients plus the vegetables in a food processor. Add the flour and baking soda and black pepper to taste, and whiz to combine.
If you don’t have a food processor, just finely chop everything. The trick is to get the ingredients small so that they disperse and turn
Heat the bacon in a pan, if using. We portioned our bacon into three, to make three large pancakes, and heated the bacon as we did each pancake.
Pour batter over heated bacon and cook.
Once flipped, place on a baking sheet in a warm oven to keep warm until all pancakes are made.
Serve with crème fraiche, plus salad, for a simple supper.
The parsley can be substituted or indeed added to with any green herb. We think chives would taste nice as an addition.
The chard could probably be substituted with any leafy green – think kale, cavolo nero, spinach. Whatever you have to hand would probably work.