Friday, March 8, 2013

In Love With Swiss Chard-Really!

We have been growing swiss chard since fall.  We have had it in a few recipes, and tonight we just wanted something simple for dinner, but felt we needed something green.  So Mamie decided to cut some Swiss Chard and saute it up for an easy dinner.  She thought about how she would like to make it, and figured a little goat cheese and balsamic vinegar could not hurt a recipe, but in the middle of cooking, she tasted the simmering chard enveloped with caramely onions, and said-"No!  It is enough!  This is de-vine!!!"

Let me tell you people, this is de-licious!  We have some swiss chard that needed to be used from the fall; and we have some coming up for spring...

Spring crop... looking good...

So we picked enough (we thought) for two (we should have doubled it) and cooked it up...we were ooohing and aaahing and wishing we would have made much more!  Now, Mamie is from the South, but she is a "leetle" picky about her greens.  She loves raw spinach and cabbage in certain salads, but cannot stand the slimey cooked versions.  Some people can make a delicious pot of cooked collards, and Mamie will devour them.  But usually, they make her gag.  They can taste a bit like grass with the texture of warm paste to her.  However, Swiss Chard is a bit different.  It cooks up well, because it takes on the flavors of the seasonings and is not as bitter as some greens can be.  We are so looking forward to our spring chard!

This is the remaining chard from fall...

Tonight we were going to doctor up the simple recipe with a little goat cheese and balsamic, but after sampling it, Mamie felt that would be gilding the Lily.  It was wonderful just simply cooked.  Here is how we did it--

Now to preface all of this, we are healthy eaters.  We drink lots of water, and try to get lots of greens and fiber in our diets.  We do not gorge on red meat, but we do eat it once in a while.  We just are not ones to eat till we are stuffed.  We enjoy eating a variety of foods, but all in moderation.  So please do not have a cow when we mention bacon grease.  We do eat bacon, (occasionally) and we save the grease.  Just a little can add a lot to a recipe that has ingredients that complement the flavor.  Tonight we used a little.  Oh my, so good!  After a hard day's work, this was just what we needed to make us look at each other and smile...

A bit of swiss chard, olive oil, (a bit of bacon drippings), white wine, salt, pepper, garlic and onion...

Chop the onion, first cutting in half, and then in thin half-rounds.  Mince the garlic.

We will put a general recipe at the bottom.  Tonight we were just making a half-recipe.

Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan or skillet..

Add a bit of bacon drippings...

Saute the onions with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, lid on the pan, until they are softened and lightly golden.

In the meantime, pull out the stem from the leaf of the chard; you can just grip and pull with each hand, or cut out the stem with a knife.  Chop the stem into 1/4 inch pieces.  Then roll up the top green part into a roll, and cut into 1/2 inch strips.

After the onions are tender, add the swiss chard stems, another little sprinkle of salt and pepper, stir and cook a few minutes till tender.

Then add the sliced greens and a little dry white wine...then add the chopped garlic, put the lid back on and steam till tender.

Taste for seasonings; adjust.  Plate up and sprinkle on freshly grated parmesan cheese.  If you want to add some umphh, toss over some toasted pine nuts...

This may not look like much, but if you are a lover of freshness and flavor, this will knock your boxers off...

RECIPE:  a general guide:

Bunch of swiss chard ( about a pound or 12-15 stems)
Onion halved and sliced thin
clove of garlic, chopped finely
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. bacon drippings
salt and pepper
good 1/4 cup dry white wine (could use chicken broth)
Parmesan cheese, grated

Chop the onion in thin slices; chop the garlic.  Heat olive oil and bacon drippings over medium heat, then add onions.  Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper.  Put on lid, and cook until onions are tender and starting to brown.  While onions are cooking, chop the stems of the swiss chard into 1/4 inch dice, and roll up the green tops and chop into 1/2 inch slices. When the onions are tender, add the swiss chard stems, a pinch of salt and pepper, and saute till tender.  Then add the tops of the chard, add the wine and the garlic, stir, put on lid and cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper.  Plate and top with grated parmesan.
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