Friday, October 23, 2009

There's Nothing Neutral About This Chard!

The Swiss are noted for their neutrality, but this Swiss Chard is anything but neutral. Its bright stems practically scream for attention. This is one of my favorite winter plants; here's a 'Ruby Red' that I just bought to use in a container by the front door.

And here's a lovely one from the Reynolda gardens that's ready to harvest:

Of course, Swiss Chard isn't just for show - it's yummy, too! It's great in winter soups and also prepared any way you would prepare spinach or kale. Here's a great recipe from Rachael Ray that is easy and delish:

Swiss Chard and Golden Raisins
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 6 servings

2 1/2 pounds (the average weight of 2 bundles) red Swiss chard
1 1/2 tablespoons (1 1/2 turns around the pan in a slow stream) extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 pound, 2 slices, pancetta or bacon, chopped
1 small yellow skinned onion, chopped
1/4 cup (2 handfuls) golden raisins
14 ounces chicken stock or broth
Coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, a couple pinches ground or equivalent of freshly grated

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Coarsely chop the greens of clean red chard. Add oil, pancetta, and chopped onion to the pan and cook 2 or 3 minutes until onions begin to soften and pancetta is lightly browned. Add chopped chard to pan in large bunches, adding remaining chard as the greens wilt.
Sprinkle in raisins, pour in broth and season with salt and nutmeg. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat and simmer greens 10 to 15 minutes until greens are no longer bitter and you are ready to serve. Raisins will plump as the dish cooks through.

Leah's Note: I omit the salt as the pancetta/bacon and broth make it salty enough!

I'm off to pot my Swiss Chard! Stop by tomorrow for a message from Tom Swift . . .

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