Swiss Chard is a plant brimming with phytonutrients. It grows in clusters from a stem like Collards or Spinach. Stems from which leaves at least as large as a hand grow, sometimes bigger than a head and as long as your arm. Stems are a rich red color, almost like Rhubarb, and the dark green leaves have deep red veins across them. Rhubarb, is absent the dramatically colored veins in the leaves.
Swiss Chard in stores, can be stiff and break easily. Fresh local Swiss Chard engenders a softer leaf, which can easily be used for salads, steamed or boiled. This recipe series will look at 3 different styles of this versatile dish.
This vegetable is well suited to being hand washed in a water bath, since they often have deep crevices in the leaves. Clean the kitchen sink or a tub to immerse the leaves. Fill with enough water to easily place all the chard in the sink or tub at once. Remove the stems to the leaf edge, and save them. Immerse the leaves in the clean water and let sit for a minute or two. Dunk the leaves in the water by pressing down on them with fingers flat to the palms. Turn each leaf over and repeat. Rinse each leaf individually under running water. Shake lightly and let them rest on a towel as each is removed from the tub.
From this point, the leaves can be rolled and cut as if slicing, this is called a chiffonade which condenses the springy leaves to a more manageable unit. These can be further chopped, for pieces as desired. 10 large leaves prepared as such are workable for the dish below.
Boil a pot of 2 cups of brown rice, per instructions on the package. Final stages of cooking is a perfect environment for final cooking of the Swiss Chard.
Recipe for Swiss Chard and Rice
This cooking pot should ultimately large enough to cook the greens, which will quickly cook down, and will be added later. 4 quart
One small yellow onion chopped
One jalapeno seeded and finely chopped
1 Tbsp of butter, ghee or olive oil
Brown the above items in the saucepan and then prepare 2 cups of brown rice per package directions.
When the pot with the 2 cups brown rice are almost cooked to final stages with about 15 minutes remaining on cooking time.
Ten large leaves of Swiss Chard, cleaned and chopped. No need to dry as these will be cooked.
Saving a palmful of the fresh chopped greens to add at the point of service, increases color pop of the plated dish.
Stir the Swiss Chard into the rice and let this cook for the remaining minutes to absorb water.
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Swiss Chard is a bit on the chewy side. If it is not fresh, it is ok to place it in the microwave to wilt it, and then add to the cooking pot with the rice. The goal is to retain the color of the vegetable, which fades after cooking.
This can be served with a garnish of feta cheeze crumbled on top a squeeze of lemon over that and top it off with and cracked dry roasted chick peas add a bit of crunch. This kind of dish goes well with poached chicken, grilled beef or a quick omelet. It freezes well.