25 June 2009

Swiss Chard

chard at Fair Share Farm

A couple of weeks ago at the Fair Share pick up, someone asked me how to fix chard. Then last night when I stopped in at the Hallmark CSA pick up at work, I heard many similar inquiries. So I pulled together three chard recipes to share: a simple one for making chard as a side dish, a more complex one for something more hefty, and a very nice soup as well, which I've talked about before in this venue. The leaves can be eaten raw if they're small enough, but I prefer them cooked. Freezing chard is a great way to save for use later; I did a lot of that last fall.

Basic info on Swiss Chard (from a Fair Share Farm newsletter of old):
A relative of the beet, Swiss chard is grown for its beautiful large leaves and stems which are good fresh or cooked. Chard is similar to spinach and beet greens, and high in vitamin A, calcium and potassium.

Simple Chard
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 pinches red pepper flakes
1 lg. bunch of chard, stems and leaves chopped separately
juice of 1/2 lemon or a few teaspoons of red wine vinegar

Heat the oil with the garlic and pepper flakes in a wide skillet over med-high heat until the garlic begins to color. Add the chopped stems of the chard and cook until softened a bit. Add the chard and toss to coat it with the oil. Add 1/2 cup water and cook until it's absorbed and the greens are heated through and wilted. Season with salt and a little lemon juice or vinegar.

Stuffed Chard Leaves (from Laurel’s Kitchen)
1 bunch Swiss Chard
2 1/2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup chopped parsley
white part of 3 scallions/green onions – or 1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp chopped green garlic or garlic scapes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cup ricotta or cottage cheese
1 tbsp chopped dill
1 egg beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Sauté onion in olive oil
Mix all ingredients except chard
Wash and dry chard leaves remove stems
Place 2 tbsp of fillin no the underside of each leaf a third from the bottom. Fold over the sides of leaf to make a square packet. Place seam side down in a greased baking dish.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes of until done

You can also pour tomato sauce over this dish before baking, or even top with your favorite cheese.

from the free Wild Oats magazine, Jan/Feb 2007
Acquacotta means "cooked water," but that doesn't begin to describe how delicious this soup is! It also freezes beautifully, so double the recipe if you like. Adding a Parmesan cheese rind to the soup while it's cooking is a clever Italian method for deepening flavors.

1 lb. Swiss chard or kale
4 Tbs. olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, or more to taste
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 cup tomato puree (or - in lieu of the paste and puree, use just over a cup of canned tomatoes and 4 cups of broth/water instead of 8)
2-inch Parmesan rind (optional)
6 1-inch-thick slices Italian bread
grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

1. Rinse chard in several changes of water until completely free of grit. Drain, stack leaves on cutting board, and finely chop. OR wait until the last minute to remove a hunk of frozen local greens from your freezer.
2. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery, and cook, stirring often, about 10 minutes, or until softened. Stir in salt, crushed red pepper and tomato paste; cook 2 minutes.
3. Reduce heat to medium low; add 8 cups water, tomato puree, Parmesan rind and chopped greens. Cook, partially covered, 45 minutes, or until very thick, stirring occasionally; add more water if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Remove rind.
4. To serve, place slice of bread in bottom of each bowl. Fill with soup, sprinkle with cheese, drizzle with oil, and serve.


Harry Mallin said...

I made the stuffed chard for my family just last week. They loved it. (Even my picky DD14) I poured a bit of spaghetti sauce on top, so the familiar taste/smell might have helped sell it to them.

AR said...

A couple weeks ago I tried some new, a chard gratin recipe from "Serving Up the Harvest." It was pretty good!
I like it braised, like in the first recipe, or added to pasta. It's become one of my favorite vegetables. I'll have to try that acquacotta some time, sounds interesting.

Seana said...

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I just picked up my chard yesterday and had the same inquiry. Emily you are just the best source for healthy, local eating! Thanks again. btw-I made my freezer jam. It's good but I would change a few things next time, this seems to be a pattern for me with every new thing I try. Practice makes perfect I suppose, but I sure wish I could get it right the first time at least once, argh! soon, soon. :)

kcimprovgeek said...

I was just about to write EXACTLY the THANK YOU 3x that Seana did. The Hallmark CSA batch seemed HUGE this week, and since I'll be out of town this weekend, I spent some serious time blanching and freezing last night. The soup looks like the perfect way to use the chard when I get home.

kcimprovgeek said...

OH, AND...I had my first three meal, non-weekend, all-local food day today. (Eating veggies like crazy before leaving for the weekend.) The fruit salad I got at the cafe was purely supplemental—I need to look for fruit at the farmers' market next week.

Emily said...

Hooray for picky eaters who like chard! And yes, AR, I love chard in pasta - kale, too!

Seana I'm sure your jam was just fine - nobody makes perfect jam the first time! I bet yours is delicious.

Trish, it sounds like today was a delicious day. Shall I go ahead and order you a 'locavores 'r us' t shirt? :)

Lauren said...

Hey! I came to your blog the other day in search of recipes for soups/stews with chard or kale. We made this vegetable soup tonight with kale. It was delicious! And, I really think that cheese rind made all the differnce b/c it was very flavorful. Thanks. :)

Emily said...

Cool! I'm glad you found the Acquacotta recipe - it's a favorite in this household. Another fun soup/stew idea for chard or kale is a "Green Gumbo" - have I given you that recipe before? I'll dig it up and send it over if you want.

Lauren said...

Green Gumbo sounds delicious - send it my way when you get a chance. Right now, we have bok choy in our fridge. Have any favorite recipes for that? You're my go to source b/c I don't know anybody else that cooks much with all these greens. I like them though. :)

Emily said...

I've been craving Green Gumbo since I mentioned it to you. I'm going to make it this weekend and post the recipe here.

As for bok choi - I always like to steam it a little and then stir fry it. I like to leave it whole if it's small enough - Sergio always chops it down, though. Bok choi, some bell peppers, a protein, and a peanut sauce make for a nice simple stir fry - sort of like this one: http://everythingbeginswithane.blogspot.com/2009/06/tuesday-night-stir-fry.html