July 2011: Chard

July 2011

Rainbow Chard, one type of chard available in grocery stores

This year is the first time that I have had my own garden. Given that I am rather poor at watering plants, I have something to be grateful for such a wet start to summer: my garden is actually producing!  My Mom planted the garden for me, as she has some mad gardening skills. One of the things she planted, chard, is growing like crazy. I want to point out that I have never seen chard in her garden, in her kitchen, or on my plate. Why my Mom thought to plant chard in my garden is beyond me.  It might have been her way to force me to eat this suspiciously healthy-looking plant.  In case you have not yet realized (and likely much to your surprise), I am not blessed with a great love of vegetables. I have not yet grown out of my childhood (childish?) assumption that vegetables taste worse than dirt.  I am, fortunately, consistently proved wrong.

Yes, you heard it here first: I am now willing to admit that vegetables taste a whole lot better than I assumed!  Chard (also known as swiss chard, silverbeet or mangold as well as a host of other names) is actually quite tasty!  It reminds me of last year’s July Food of the Month, kale, in that it has some great health components. It is a good source of potassium, vitamins C and A, and fibre.

Since I had never cooked chard, I cajoled a friend into cooking his favourite recipe for me, and allowing me to share it with you. It is amazing- I ate it like I would normally eat candy. If you have a great chard recipe of your own, please share it in the comments section and you will be entered to win in our monthly draw for a $20 gift card to UBC Food Services.

Latham’s Lovely Chard and Kale Combo

  • Turn on the stove to medium heat, heat up two tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Crush or mince a few cloves of garlic in a large pan.
  • Add 1/2 chopped red onion.
  • Sautee until the onion is transparent.
  • Wash the chard and kale. Rip up the chard and kale leaves, removing the ribs. Use most (if not all) of the bunch of each that you would buy at the farmer’s market or the grocery store, since it shrinks when you cook it.
  • Cook on medium heat for  about 5 minutes, until the chard and kale wilt.
  • Before you remove it from the heat, splash on a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds (optional).

One possible variation: you can use garlic scapes instead of fresh garlic, which will reduce the strength of the garlic flavor.

3 Responses to “July 2011: Chard”

  1. Lisa Scully says:

    This sounds fabulous! i love chard. Its great just steamed with salt and pepper and some butter.
    here is an excellent recipe i found on the web made it for a group family dinner, everyone loved it!
    Orzo with mushrooms and Swiss Chard

    4 tablespoons olive oil
    1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
    1 teaspoon garlic, minced
    1 bunch Swiss chard, stemmed, chopped
    1/4 cup shallots, minced
    2 cups dry orzo pasta
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    3 1/2 cups veggie broth, warmed, divided
    1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 tablespoon minced fresh sage (fresh makes the difference)
    Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

    Saute mushrooms in half the olive oil until they soften and most of their liquid is evaporated. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

    Blanch the chard in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and immediately plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Squeeze out excess moisture; set aside.

    Saute shallots in remaining oil until softened using the same pan that the mushrooms were cooked in. Add the orzo and continue cooking over medium heat until the pasta browns lightly.

    Deglaze pan with wine, scraping up the flavorful bits at the bottom.

    Add half the warmed veggie broth to the orzo and stir well. Continue cooking for 10 minutes. Add another cup of warmed broth and cook another 5 minutes. Add the remaining broth and taste orzo for doneness.

    Stir in the reserved mushrooms and chard.

    Finish with Parmesan, butter, sage, salt, and pepper.

    serves/makes 6

    You can use chicken broth instead of veggie broth if you like.

    Taken from http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/478/Orzo-Risotto-With-Mushrooms-An74475.shtml

  2. My favourite chard recipe (or perhaps I should say my only chard recipe) runs along these lines:

    -Wash the chard well, then slice out the stalks
    -slice the leaves into large chunks
    -slice the stalks into half-inch chunks
    -Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a pan, add a clove or two of crushed garlic
    -Cook the chard stalks until they are nearly soft, then add the leaves to cook for a few more minutes.
    -Salt and pepper to taste.

    If you’re using red or rainbow chard, the colour from the stalks is lovely.

  3. If you don’t have your own garden you can try the new Farmers’ Market at 49th and Oak Street. Every Wednesday (today!) from 3-7 pm. I bought some kale there last Wednesday and enjoyed “kale chips” – a healthy alternative to the potato variety and just as tasty. I expect there will be chard there today

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