Want a prized ingredient? Choose chard | Kitchen to Kitchen

Sidonie Maroon
Posted 2/17/22

Swiss chard isn’t Swiss at all but a native of Sicily! It’s related to the beet, and in the Amaranth family. In France, the stems are coveted while they feed the greens to the chickens, …

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Want a prized ingredient? Choose chard | Kitchen to Kitchen

A rainbow of chard.
A rainbow of chard.
Photo courtesy of Sidonie Maroon
Posted

Swiss chard isn’t Swiss at all but a native of Sicily! It’s related to the beet, and in the Amaranth family. In France, the stems are coveted while they feed the greens to the chickens, while here we have the opposite problem. I’d like to announce that both the stems and leaves are delicious. 

It wasn’t until I grew the heirloom “Italian Silver Rib” — a favorite with wide, crisp, silvery-white midribs and crinkled shiny leaves — that I recognized chard as a prized ingredient.

The rainbow varieties are also beautiful, and I love to dice their stems into confetti. 

Chard Chopping Technique

It’s best when you want the chard to play a secondary role in a soup, casserole, or pie. 

Wash the leaves and stems and shake dry. 

Gather the bunch together and chop off the stems where they meet the leaves. Slice the stems into long thin pieces, as you would dice celery. Now, gather the thin logs together and dice them into small squares. 

Stack the leaves on top of each other and roll into a long, tight bundle. Hold the bundle together as you slice thin ribbons crosswise. 

Go back and chop across the ribbons until the chard is in small pieces.    

How to Cook Chard 

Sauté: Preheat your pan with oil. Start by sautéing the stems and cook for 5 minutes before adding the leaves. Cover the pan with a lid and allow the leaves to steam and reduce before taking the lid off. Chard is better fully cooked. I like to use this method to make skillet eggs. First sauté the chard, then add eggs and ¼ cup broth. Turn the heat to medium and allow the eggs to poach with the chard for about 6 minutes. 

Blanch: Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add salt and chard. Allow the pot to return to a boil and time for 3 minutes. Drain and press dry. This is a great way to make a cold chard salad or blanch whole leaves for wrapping. Use this method to reduce chard for pies or quiche.   

Stew: Add finely chopped chard to your soup or stew pot. I like to dice the stems, and chiffonade the leaves, so they’ll melt into the background.  

Roast: Chard stems are delicious roasted. Try them with olive oil and salt at 425 F for 30 to 45 minutes. 

Parchment wrapped: Rub your chopped chard with olive oil, garlic and salt. Wrap it in parchment paper and tuck it in the oven beside a roasting chicken and baked potato. 

Pressure cook: If you’re braising meat in the Instant Pot, try pressure cooking chard in the braising liquid after you’ve taken the roast out. It’s so delicious! Try four minutes at high pressure with an instant release.  

Chard Pairings 

Parmesan, anchovies, garlic, olive oil, raisins;  

Bacon, gruyere cheese, eggs, black pepper;

White beans, leeks, orange zest, bay leaves, fresh thyme, lemon, bread crumbs;   

Black-eyed peas, garlic, olive oil, fresh dill, tomatoes; 

Coconut milk, lentils, ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, lime;

Chickpeas, onions, chilies, garlic, olives, feta, marjoram;  

Potatoes, garlic, olive oil, smoked paprika, salt, chili flakes, vinegar ;

Mushrooms, chicken, cream, Jack cheese, pasta;

Butter, sweet potatoes, thyme, orange zest, garlic; and 

Balsamic vinegar, raisins, almonds, anchovies.

Cheesy Chard 

Serves four as a side. 

Melty, cheesy, garlicky and delicious, I bake this cheesy chard in parchment. It’s perfect to tuck in the oven beside baked potatoes or chicken.  

Ingredients

1 bunch chard

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons olive oil 

¼ teaspoon sea salt 

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon anchovy fish sauce, or anchovy paste 

½ cup grated Parmesan 

¼ cup raisins

1 small lemon, sliced 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Lay out a large sheet of parchment paper, about 18 by 18 inches, on a baking sheet. 

Wash the chard and pat dry. Cut off the stems, slice them into long thin pieces, and cut the pieces into a small dice. Roll the leaves together lengthwise into a tight log. Thinly slice the log into ribbons, holding it tight with your free hand. Chop across the ribbons into smaller pieces (chiffonade). 

Pile the chard onto the parchment paper. Toss and rub the other ingredients into it. Fold the ends of the paper in and the sides together into a packet. Turn it folded side down onto the baking sheet and put whatever else you are roasting on the tray. 

Bake for 50 minutes at 425 F. 

Serve with lemon at the table.

(Sidonie Maroon is the culinary educatior at The Food Co-op; abluedotkitchen.com. Follow Sidonie on The Food Co-op’s Facebook group Cooking with the Co-op. Find more recipes at www.foodcoop.coop/blog/chard.)

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