Thursday, June 9, 2011

What to do with Swiss Chard

If you belong to a vegetable CSA in Northern Virginia, you probably get a lot of swiss chard. I know we do! I am pretty sure we get chard all summer long, in fact.

So what to do with all of that chard? Well, first of all, know how it cooks up: unlike with some other greens, you can eat the stems. They have a similar texture to celery. If you get rainbow chard, you can end up with white, green, red, orange, and yellow stems, which can cook up really beautifully! The leaves are usually green but can be red as well. As with most greens, you can cook them up nicely with garlic & olive oil or butter.

But for something other than a side dish, you can try some Swiss Chard & Chicken Quesadillas for starters.

Or make some Swiss Chard pies! Here's a recipe:

Preheat oven to 350

Make your favorite pie crust. Or look online for a tasty crust and make it. Roll it out to 1/8" and cut into 6" rounds.  Or, go get a refrigerated pie crust (not frozen!) and cut that into smaller rounds. Set these aside.

For the filler, you'll need:
1 bunch swiss chard
1 garlic curl or 2 cloves garlic
some onion or spring onion or scallion tops
3 slices of bacon, cooked & crumbled
about 1T maple syrup
about 1T wine or apple cider vinegar

Chop everything, keeping the chard stems separate from the leaves. Saute the chard stems, onion (or scallion), and garlic (or curls) in a little olive oil until they start to soften. Add the chard leaves, salt & pepper, and saute until everything is wilted. Remove from heat and add in the bacon, syrup, & vinegar.

Now, take your mini pie rounds. Add some of the mix, fold over, and crimp with a fork. Repeat for the rest of the rounds. If you have any leftover mix, refrigerate it for later use. You can always make more pie crust or use it in another recipe. Pierce tops of the pies to release steam. You may want to do an egg wash on these but it's not strictly necessary. Place on a baking stone or cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Delicious!

If you have leftovers, use them for breakfast! reheat them in a pan in the morning and add some eggs for a tasty omelette. You can use the same mix to go into a quiche or Egg Pie (just remove the squash/onion/garlic curl pesto from that recipe and replace with the mix from this one!)

You can generally use Swiss Chard in any recipe that calls for spinach, just remember that the chard will take a little longer to cook.

Do you have a favorite swiss chard recipe?

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