Getting To Know Swiss Chard

Feb 11, 2019 | Cooking Tips


Leafy greens are an important part of the diet. They are low in fat and calories but high in minerals, nutrients, and vitamins. Swiss Chard falls into this category.

When young, the leaves of the chard can be used raw in salads. Older chard plants can be sauteed, braised, roasted, or cooked in soups. Usually, the leaves are separated from the stem as the leaves cook quicker. The stems will be cooked first and then the leaves will be added near the end of the cooking process.

Chard is part of the beet family. That doesn’t really matter, but I didn’t know that and thought it was interesting.


Flavour

Raw chard can have a slightly but not unpleasant bitter flavour. When cooked, the bitterness is taken away and you are left with a subtle green vegetable flavour. Imagine the flavour of cooked spinach but not as strong.

Because the flavour of chard is so mild when cooked, it is easily complimented. Acids like lemon juice or vinegar added at the end of the cooking process enhance the natural flavour of the chard.


Cooking

Sauteing

One of my favourite ways to eat chard (chard, and Swiss Chard is the same thing) is to pull the leaves away from the stems. Cut off and discard the very end of the stem and dice the rest. Cut the leaves into 1-2 inch pieces.

Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Once the butter starts to bubble add the stems and sauté for two minutes. Add the leaves and sauté for another minute or two. Season with salt and pepper and finish with a small squeeze of lemon juice.

Braising

To braise the chard, start the same way as when sauteing it. Remove the leaves from the stems, discard the ends, dice the stems, and cut the leaves.

Heat a pan over medium high heat. Sauté the stems with a bit of garlic. Add 1/2 cup of chicken stock, white wine or water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for ten minutes.

Add the chopped leaves and simmer for another five to ten minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add a 1/4 cup of cream, turn the heat up, bring back to a boil and cook for five minutes. Finish with a tbsp of butter.

Roasting

To roast, start the chard the same way as with the other two processes. This time, drop the chopped stems in boiling water for thirty to forty seconds. Drain, and pat dry.

Toss the leaves and blanched stems with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out an a sheet pan and bake in a 400°f oven for fifteen to twenty minutes or until the leaves are crisp.

Soup

To add the chard to soup prep it the same way as with the other processes. This time add the chopped stems in with the onions. Add the leaves about five minutes before the soup is finished.


What to serve the chard with?

Chard goes well with chicken, pork, fish, or beef. It can be prepared in any of the above ways and served as a side dish. It also works well mixed in with cooked rice.


You don’t know what your missing!

Chard is one of those things that until you try it you don’t know what your missing. It has such a delicate flavour and works well with everything. Not to mention that it is really good for you. Oh, and it’s cheap!

Next time you’re in the grocery store grab a bunch. Take it home, cook it up, and serve it as a side dish with whatever you’re having for dinner. You won’t be disappointed.


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