Got a bunch of chard in my CSA box this week. I haven't really dealt with chard before, so I just cut it up and sauteed it like I would spinach, in a little olive oil with garlic. But it was horrible.
So what should I have done with it? Should I have treated it more like bok choy, and only just barely cooked it, or what?
I agree with the earlier post, you should trim the leafy part away from the ribs. Although the ribs are also very good, they need to be cooked a lot longer than the leaves to get a good taste from them. Usually I just save them for the compost heap.
You can steam or boil the leaves or sautee them in oil with sliced garlic. They break down quickly as does spinach but has a more bitter taste. Topping the cooked leaves with either lemon zest or juice helps to brighten them up too.
I cannot remember where I got this recipe for "African Vegetable Stew" that uses chard, but it's a long-time favorite. Has raisins, as others have recommended, and rice, tomatoes, garbanzos, and sweet potatoes. The Tabasco or chili oil definitely adds a nice flavor - this goes really well with grilled chicken.
* Exported from MasterCook *
African Vegetable Stew
Recipe By :Linda
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 large onion -- chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard
1/2 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) -- up to 1 can
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 can canned whole tomatoes -- or several fresh
1 clove garlic -- or to taste
2 medium yams -- or sweet potatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper -- to taste
Tabasco sauce -- to taste
(or hot chili oil)
In a large skillet, fry onion, garlic, and white stems of chard in a little olive oil until barely limp. Add chopped greens and fry a bit.
Either peel the yams or scrub them well with a vegetable brush, then slice them into thick slices (halve the slices if yams are large). Cut fresh tomatoes into medium-sized chunks. Add garbanzos (with its liquid), raisins, yams, tomatoes, salt, and pepper to mixture in skillet. Cook a few minutes.
Make a well in the center of the mixture in the pot. Put the rice in the well and pat it down until it's wet. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until rice is done (about 20-25 minutes). Add Tabasco sauce or chili oil to taste.
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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 336 Calories; 2g Fat (5.1% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 73g Carbohydrate; 9g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 68mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1 Fruit; 0 Fat.
This is excellent. Wonderful with grilled chicken.
Chard pairs well with eggs, in a frittata or tart or quiche. I like Deborah Madison's saffron chard tart recipe from the Greens cookbook. Not much cheese, so the vegetable really stands out.
If it's too acrid for your taste, consider giving the stems a fresh trim of at least an inch, then soaking the whole leaves in cold water for 20 minutes to perk and sweeten them up, as you would salad greens. Remove the stems for most uses. I also like the suggestions of adding raisins to the saute, a nice complement. The flavor is more mineral and a little more acrid than spinach, though they shouldn't be outright bitter unless the weather is hot and they're not being watered.
There is an Italian family style restaurant in the Bay Area that serves chard with all the dishes. Everyone at the table fights over it. It is cooked long, and with vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper and perhaps a bit of pork (not sure what part) Great stuff, the liquor is wonderful
I once made an amazing version that had 3/4 sauteed onion with 1 chopped tomato. Then some broth, a bunch of chopped chard, golden raisins, and then a scoop of tomato paste. I cooked it for about 40 minutes, just to make sure it was soft. Squeezed a little lemon on top...it was fanstastic.
Chard is extremely flexible and quite tasty. Trim the center rib out and save for stocks or to be cooked as a gratin or a braise in white wine on its own. The leafy part can generally stand longer cooking than spinach (though not as much as collards). Cook it down with little bacon and seasoning and mix with mashed potatoes for example. For more elaborate things you could cook the greens, squeeze out the moisture, chop and use in a quiche (with a good mild sausage crumbled in) or mix with ricotta for a pasta filling (lasagna or manicotti) or with goat cheese and add to an omelet or fritatta. It's very good in soups or as other posters have noted just as a saute on its own with.
Gee, Rev, sorry. Chard's one of my faves. Hope you'll try again.
Hope you took the center spine out. It's tougher and has to be discarded or cooked longer. I've even cooked it separately as another course, serving with oil and vinegar/lemon juice as salad.
You can treat the tender part of the leaves like spinach. Don't know what went wrong unless you got some bitter chard. Happens.
One thing I do when I get something I've never cooked before is leave out the garlic on my maiden voyage. If something can be bitter, the garlic will guarantee it. After I know what the pure taste of something is, then I can play with it on the next go round with whatever I think will enhance the intrinsic flavors. I often just steam or use clarified butter. Might be a little plain but I know the essence of the thing and then I can go for it.
Sometimes at the height of the growing season, things don't need any help to taste wonderful.
I do something similar. I dry saute the chard over high heat until it wilts and loses a lot of water, then remove the chard onto a cutting board. I let it cool a little and squeeze out excess water, then chop it up. Then I reheat the skillet (drained of water) with some oil. Saute the pinenuts a tad, then add raisons and the chard. Continue to cook over high heat for a minute or so more and then salt and pepper with fresh ground pepper and fancy salt. Maybe drizzle a little olive oil over it at the end. We call it chard a la catalana. The more traditional recipe of course is espinacs (spinach) a la catalana, also good.
I almost forgot: you can do this with or without garlic; we do it with. Either saute garlic in at the beginning as you would normally or make garlic chips. Saute the garlic with oil (not too hot) until they turn golden and crisp, remove, then sprinkle over the finished dish.