Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Swiss Chard

My mother never said "eat your chard because its good for you".  In fact, as far as my food memory goes, mother never served chard.  Other than her spinach from a can (if you've never had it from a can, don't try it), the green leaf of choice was turnip greens.  She cooked them with a ham hock and for a very long time.  Perhaps the ham hock negated some of the "good for you" part but it made them very tasty.  A side of southern corn bread to sop up the juices (pot liquor) made for delicious Sunday evening suppers.  Today, when we travel the interstates, a stop at reliable Cracker Barrel usually finds me ordering a bowl of their turnip greens with the obligatory ham shards and a corn muffin on the side.

My Lebanese brother-in-law introduced me to chard.  He is an excellent cook so, when he makes a dish, I take notice and notes.  A few years back, he made a stew of lentils to which he added colorful-stemmed Swiss chard.  F. reminded me of an alchemist in the kitchen as he added a little of this and a little of that, tasting after each addition and adjusting accordingly.  The finished dish was delicious.

My dish is very simple and meant to accompany an entree.  It is also an attempt to use as many vegetables as possible while they still travel only ten miles up the road-from the farm to my table.  The farmers' market closes at the end of this month.  I'm sad!

Simple Saute of Swiss Chard for Two

Salt to taste
1 pound Swiss chard
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp canola oil
Pepper to taste
Vinegar or lemon juice if desired

1.  Rinse the chard and carefully remove the leaves from the stem.  Don't dry the leaves as the water clinging to them is needed in the saute pan.  Try to keep the leaves whole.  Cut the stems into pieces (about 1/2 inch or so).  Roll the leaves together, a few at a time, and cut them crosswise into 1 inch wide strips.
2.  In a saucepan large enough to hold the leaves and stems, melt the butter with the oil.  Add the stems to the pan and saute, over medium heat, for about 5 minutes.  Add the leaves, salt them a bit,  and cook another 5 minutes, stirring the leaves frequently as they wilt into the butter.  Add pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and cover the pan with a lid to steam them for a minute or so.
3.  Serve warm and offer vinegar and/or lemon juice to those who like their greens livened up a bit.



  1. i love turnip greens, mustard greens and collard greens, have not had chard, but i am sure i would like it. all of the above were cooked with ham hock OR bacon grease if no ham hock available. we lived on greens that daddy grew, in Savannah and KY he could grow some type of green year round.

  2. I have never had chard before, shameful for living in the south!!! Why is it called Swiss, when I think of it as Southern?

  3. Growing Swiss chard this fall and will try this recipe! Thanks, Aunt B!

  4. When I was little I loved spinach, even out of a can! At school when they served it, I would trade all the kids for it. I haven't touched a can of spinach since I once craved it while pregnant with my youngest daughter.
    I have also always loved chard too, even as a kid. I found recently I love to saute it with no salt and you can taste more of the freshness. I felt like no matter how little salt I but in it, it kept tasting too salty to me. Now it just taste sweet and fresh.

  5. I hadn't tried chard until about six years ago and love it simply sautéed with a little garlic and sea salt in olive oil. I know I will love this version, too.

    I enjoy the greens and cornbread at Cracker Barrel, too... ;) blessings ~ tanna
    p.s. I'm staying tuned.

  6. I did not grow up eating chard either. In fact we never heard of it in the fifties. Great dish Bonnie and so good for you.

  7. i love chard but never done it quite like this before. I love the addition of the vinegar. I can see how it brings out the flavor.

  8. It does remind me of spinach but I don't think they taste the same. I love throwing spinach leaves into stews or soups of all sorts. This looks so healthy!

  9. Hi Bonnie, I don't think I've ever had chard--but do like all kinds of 'greens'... I also eat the Turnip Greens from Cracker Barrel. I grew up eating Kale and Spinach in addition to Turnip Greens.... Not sure about Chard though... Looks GOOD... thanks!

  10. Love chard.. I am even known to add... shh..bacon and garlic..
    Chard is gorgeous also to me:)

  11. While I've had it in the garden-very pretty! I've never eaten it... Another thing on my list to try:@)

  12. Oh I love swiss chard. I will be cooking this. Bonnie, the spinach of my youth came from the freeze section. I do love me some turnip greens, onion and corn bread. Yum! Hugs! Bonnie

  13. Yep, you're Southern! Nana made hamhocks and white beans, as do my Mom and I. We always called the juices...pot liquor! And cornbread on the side. Never sweet.
    ; ) xo Kris

  14. Looks good, Bonnie! The chard here has been great this summer and I make it about the way you do. My dad had many gardens so we always ate chard when I was growing up. Mom usually added a little bacon grease to it. Cornbread and pot liquor ~ heaven!!!

    I like your comment about your mom telling you about celery seed in coleslaw. I had conversations with my mom just like that. :)
    Have a good weekend!

  15. I discovered swiss chard only recently because I grow it. I have learned that swiss chard is great for soups, stews and sautéed simply as you have shown. It is healthy and delicious.


    P.S. awesome to have a lebanese brother in law that can rock in the kitchen.


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