Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sneaking in the Chard

Hope y'all had great holidays in December like I did. Now it seems like a few healthy foods would be welcome in our house. Right now I have some chard, also known as Swiss Chard, growing in the garden. It is related to beets, but is grown for the leaves, not a root.

Sweetie claims he doesn't like chard. For a long time we never had chard, but then I discovered Rainbow Chard, with those bright red and yellow and orange stems, along with the white and pale yellow ones. The leaves also have some of the brighter colors to match. They just look like a party when those colors and the deep, deep green are all together when the chard is in a bunch.

So I made Rainbow Chard and Spinach as a side dish for a recent party I cooked for a friend (for pay), accenting the chard and spinach flavors with onion, currant and lemon zest. But Sweetie wasn't there to taste it. He did sound interested when I described it later. Unfortunately, no photos.

Then a couple of weeks ago I decided to use the chard in the garden in a quiche for dinner. The sauteed chard was hidden on the bottom of the blind baked pie shell, along with caramelized onions and mushroom slices and some diced Swiss cheese. On top I put broccoli florets . A savory egg custard was poured over all of it. Once baked up nice and golden, it was lovely and smelled wonderful. Sweetie really enjoyed that quiche, even after I admitted that I had sneaked in some chard, too. You really can't tell from looking at the baked quiche that there is chard in there.

It really is a delicious vegetable, especially if you don't over-cook it. Fresh tasting, good for you, only a touch of bitterness to pique your taste buds. Chard.

Can you spot the chard hiding out with the other vegetables?

Swiss Chard and Spinach with Onions, Currants and Lemon Zest

1 large bunch chard, well rinsed...regular or Rainbow. If you can, buy organic for this recipe.
10 oz fresh baby spinach, well rinsed
1 small to medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic flavored olive oil
1/4 cup dried currants
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest

Chop the chard across the leaves in one to two inch strips, removing most of the chard stems if they are tough. If they aren't tough, chop a few into a small dice and include them. Leave the rinse water on the leaves. If any of the baby spinach leaves have very long stems, remove the stems. Leave the rinse water on them.
In a large saute' pan with a lid, heat the garlic flavored olive oil and saute' the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the chard strips, stems, and the spinach leaves. Using tongs, stir and turn the leaves to coat them with the oil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and let steam for a few minutes until just wilted. Add the currants and lemon zest, cover, and cook one more minute. Serve at once. Serves 4-6.

Chard and Other Vegetables Quiche

One pie crust, blind baked for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F., then cooled. (Line the pastry-lined pie pan with parchment, fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice, then bake and cool. Remove the pie weights, beans or rice and store for another blind baking experience). I use a ready made pastry round available in most grocery stores in the refrigerator case.

1/2 bunch fresh chard, well rinsed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6-8 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons grape seed oil (or olive oil)
4 oz. Swiss cheese, in 1/2 inch dice
1 head of broccoli, in small florets
2 large eggs
1 cup whole or low fat milk
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Slice the chard leaves in 1-2 inch strips, discarding the stems. Set aside Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a saute' pan, cook the onion, garlic, and mushrooms in the grape seed oil over medium-low heat until caramelized, stirring often, 10-15 minutes. Add the chard, turn the leaves with tongs to coat them with the oil, cover, and steam for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Sprinkle the Swiss cheese dice over the bottom of the partially baked pie shell. Over the cheese, spread the chard mixture. Over that evenly sprinkle the broccoli florets. Beat together the eggs and the low fat milk. Stir in thyme. Pour the mixture over the vegetables and cheese in the pie shell. Grind a few grinds of fresh pepper over all (or shake a bit of pepper from a shaker).

Place pie in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until center just barely moves when pie is shaken. Cool for 5- 10 minutes, then serve warm. Serves 6-8.


  1. Anonymous3:39 PM

    If "sweetie" doesn't like it, you can pass it to me :)

  2. Maryann, I'd love to. :)

  3. The chard and currant recipe sounds delicious. I usually add a handful of raisins and a pinch of nutmeg to mine, so I will definitely give your recipe a try.

  4. I love rainbow chard and have been eating it for weeks now. So I need some new recipes. I'm definitely trying these. Thanks, Elle!

  5. Now that looks incredible! I've been thinking quiche for a month now and haven't done it. This looks really so good. Love all that green!

  6. Judy, I like the idea of rasins and nutmeg, too. I'll try that.

    Susan, Glad to help another chard lover :)

    Tanna, Wish I lived close enough to join yours will be delish.