Swiss Chard is a beet grown for its leaves rather than its root. First cultivated in parts of Europe and in the Mediterranean. It’s appreciated for it’s sweet flavor and there are several varieties: red, green and rainbow (red, green, yellow stalks all on the same plant!).
Storage: Wrap unwashed in a damp towel and place in refrigerator drawer and it will keep 3-4 days stored this way. To freeze, wash, chop, and blanch for 3 minutes, until bright green. Rinse with cold water, drain, and pack into freezer bags.
Preparation: Wash chard in cold water with a bit of salt added. Chop leaves and stems (larger stems will take longer to cook). Chard is best prepared sauteed or steamed and is ready when it’s wilted and tender. Chard can be substituted into any recipe that calls for spinach. *Chard will bleed its color onto other foods when cooked together.
Steamed Chard: 1 bunch chard, 2 garlic cloves-minced, 1 onion-diced, 2 tablespoons olive oil
Wash chard leaves well and remove discolored parts. In a pan with lid combine leaves and about ¼ inch of water. Cover and steam until chard has wilted and remove leaves and drain water. Return pan to stove top and over medium flame heat olive oil. Add onions and cook until onions become golden. Add garlic cook 2 minutes more and add chard leaves, stir to mix. While chard is heated, serve immediately.
Swiss Chard and Dill Pilaf: 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1-½ cups chopped onion, 3 garlic cloves-minced, 1 cup long grain-converted white rice, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¾ teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, 1 lb chard leaves washed and de-stemmed, 2-½ cups water or vegetable stock, 6 tablespoons lemon juice, ½ cup fresh dill
In a 4 quart heavy pot heat olive oil. Add onions and garlic and cook slowly until soft (about 6 minutes). Stir in rice, nutmeg, salt and pepper, mixing well. Stir in chard and water or stock. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and the dill, mixing well. Adjust seasonings and serve.