Tuesday, March 24, 2009

From Our Kitchen to Yours: Garlicky Swiss Chard

Every time I am at the grocery store and pass those big green leaves, it seems like they are calling my name. Knowing that greens are good for you, I thought I should buy some, but what do you do with them? One time I grew kale in my garden, but it looked so good that I couldn't bring myself to remove it! This week I bought some swiss chard and decided it was time to take the plunge.

Join me in preparing a quick, weeknight dinner with garlicky swiss chard, polenta, a side salad and fried chicken. The meal came together quickly since we picked up the fried chicken from a neighboring restaurant, Tousey House Tavern. Their fried chicken is rolled in their "secret herb flour" prior to being fried to a golden crisp. For the side dishes, you will need the following ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced or sliced thin
2 1/2 pounds chard
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar, to taste
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 box polenta
1 to 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste

The first step is to cut out the main stem and thick ribs from the chard and discard them.

Once that is done, you just wash the leaves and then shake them to remove excess water.

Now you are ready to chop the chard. In the background you may notice the small salads that I had ready to go along with our meal. I used mixed greens with a variety of produce and toppings that I had on hand; last night that included small tomatoes, grapes, walnuts and buffalo mozzerella topped with Garlic Expressions salad dressing.

Next chop the chard roughly.

Before putting up the cutting board, mince the garlic clove and slice one medium onion into long or diced pieces depending on your preference. This time I used a red onion but you can use any kind.

Heat oil in a stockpot or saute pan that is deep enough to hold the greens. Add the garlic and then onion, sauting over medium heat until tender, about 8 minutes.

Sprinkle some sugar to taste over top to help the onions carmelize.

After you have stirred the onion/garlic mixture, splash in a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to taste.

Add the damp chard, stir well to coat with the oil, cover, and cook, stirring two or three times, until wilted, about 5 minutes.

As it finishes cooking, season with additional salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and sugar, to taste.

Before serving, you can continue to simmer uncovered for several minutes if you want to to evaporate any excess liquid, or you can use the liquid to moisten rice, polenta, mashed potatoes, beans, or meat. Speaking of polenta, while the chard was simmering, I prepared a box according to the directions and then added a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.

Since the fried chicken was ready to go, the only thing left to do was plate our dinner.

I put a little bit of polenta next to the fried chicken and topped it with the garlicky swiss chard. The best thing is that not only was the chard easy to prepare, but it tasted delicious. I guess I'll be buying more leafy greens at the grocery store after all.


  1. Swiss chard is a favorite in our house. My dad raises a garden every summer and I get a load of chard every week. It's so hearty and grows all summer and most of the fall. I prefer the white stems because the flavor is a little more subtle. I'm glad you tried it and liked it!