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What to do with swiss chard?

Rainbow chard has to be one of the prettiest greens around. The variety of swiss chard has vibrant colored stems–pinks and oranges and yellows that really grab your attention.

Every time that I see a particularly lovely bunch (which this spring, has been fairly often), I just have to have it. But, what next?

All day yesterday, I wondered what to do with the huge bunch I purchased at the Braehead Farm market that was sitting in my fridge (along with more strawberries, of course). A simple preparation from Martha Stewart seemed like an ideal side dish to go alongside leftover tomato and artichoke pasta–a favorite Pioneer Woman recipe that comes together in a flash with pantry staples.

The tougher stems get cooked with a little oil and garlic first, then the chopped leaves get added to the pot, with a spoonful of sugar. I really liked how the dish was just a tad sweet, then balanced with salt, pepper and a splash of red wine vinegar. I’d recommend this method for any time you don’t know what to do with some of the greens.

Need more ideas? Try this chard and sausage lasagna from a Front Burner post last year, a fritatta, or any of these recipes from a wire story on our website. What’s your favorite way to prepare chard — or any of the other cool weather greens?

Sauteed Swiss Chard

From Martha Stewart – I used the technique but scaled down the ingredients for just two servings. 

  • 3 pounds red Swiss chard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Clean the Swiss chard in a salad spinner. Trim tough ends; slice stalks about 3/4 inch thick. Slice leaves about 1 inch thick.

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm olive oil. Cook garlic until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in stalks; cook, stirring, until slightly soft, 5 to 6 minutes.

Add half the leaves; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Cover; cook until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add remaining leaves; sprinkle with another teaspoon sugar. Cover; cook, tossing occasionally, until leaves are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. (Since I was only using a half-bunch of greens, I cooked the leaves all at once.)

Uncover; cook until liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in red-wine vinegar; season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

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