Oct 6, 2018

The Beauty of Swiss Chard

Rhubarb Swiss Chard from Kumu Farms here on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i.
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The beauty of Swiss Chard is that it's easy to make as a side dish, delicious, and is very good for you. Swiss Chard, like spinach, is loaded with vitamins and nutrients. 

Swiss chard isn't actually native to Switzerland. A Swiss botanist named Koch determined the plant's scientific name in the 19th century, and since then, the vegetable's name has honored his homeland. Chard really originated further south, in the Mediterranean region. Aristotle wrote about it in the 4th century BC, and the ancient Greeks and Romans valued chard for its medicinal properties.

The variety of Swiss Chard shown above is called Rhubarb Swiss Chard because of its vibrant red stalks. There are other varieties of Swiss Chard, and they pretty much all taste the same. 

Whatever, all I know is that it gives us all another beautiful vegetable to enjoy with family and friends.

SIMPLE – Swiss Chard
1 small onion, sliced thinly
1 bunch of Swiss Chard
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or other hot sauce (optional)
1 cup low salt beef stock
3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste

Remove the skin from the onion and slice thinly. Wash and clean the chard leaves trimming the bottom of the stems. Slice the stems into-inch pieces. Roll the leaves into a cigar-like shape and slice across horizontally into one-inch wide strips.

Heat butter and olive oil in a wok or large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and pepper, sauté for another minute.

Add the stock and chard stems and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, until tender. Add the chard leaves and simmer for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. The chard leaves will wilt down.

Now add a little soy sauce or salt to taste.

Makes 4 small servings.

Note: Refrigerate Chard, wrapped in a plastic bag for up to three days. I like to serve chard with ham, roast chicken or pork, or toss steamed chard with pasta, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. You can also sprinkle cooked chard with crumbled bacon or chopped hard-boiled eggs.

Swiss Chard with Pumpkin Seeds 
and Golden Raisins
2 pounds swiss chard, stem ends trimmed
1/4 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Place the chard on your cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut out the colorful stems from the leaves. Slice the stems crosswise into ¼-inch pieces and place them in a bowl. Working in batches, stack the greens, roll them into a thick cigar shape and slice them crosswise into ¼-inch-wide ribbons.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan often, until fragrant, toasty-brown, and plump, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a small plate to cool and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the chard stems and cook until they're starting to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the greens and cook, stirring often, until they begin to wilt, about 4 minutes longer. Stir in the raisins and turn off the heat. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and turn the greens out onto a serving platter. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the top and serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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