Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard leaves are large and fleshy with distinctive white ribs, the flavour is similar to spinach though stronger and robust.

It keeps better than spinach though should be eaten within a couple of days.

To prepare separate the ribs from the leaves roughly with a sharp knife, the ribs can then be sliced, then shred the leaves.

To cook you can gently sauté the ribs in butter and oil and add the leaves a minute or two later. Alternatively, the ribs can be simmered in a little water until tender and the leaves added a few minutes later or steamed over the top.


Swiss chard with Garlic

Serves 4

400-500g Swiss chard
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
8 fl oz vegetable or chicken stock
Freshly grated parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Roughly chop the chard at 1-2 inch intervals
Melt some butter in a wide, heavy bottomed pan with a lid. Add the chopped garlic and the chard. Put the lid on and allow to wilt for a few minutes, then add the hot stock and season with salt, if needed and black pepper.
Replace the lid and simmer for about 15 minutes until the chard is tender.
Serve in a shallow bowl with plenty of parmesan and some nice crusty bread. Nice on its own for lunch or as a side vegetable.


Chard and Onion Tart – Serves 2

Three small onions, finely sliced
300g chard, leaves separated from stems and roughly chopped
50g butter
6oz short crust pastry
4 tbsp half fat crème fraiche
Grated Parmesan
8-10 Chopped black olives
1-2 tbsp freshly chopped thyme
Freshly ground salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 4

Gently fry the onions and thyme in some butter for about 10 minutes without colouring the onions. Meanwhile blanch the stalks until tender, remove the stalks and blanch the remaining leaves briefly before refreshing under the cold tap and squeezing out as much water as possible.

Add the chard to the onions and reheat, stir and season. Spread the mixture on a circle of pre-bakes short crust pastry. Sprinkle with the chopped olives, parmesan and a few spoonfuls of crème fraiche and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.


Orecchiette with Tomatoes,Chickpeas and Chard

1 Onion finely chopped
Olive oil
3 (or more) garlic cloves (peeled and chopped)
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 Tablespoon tomato puree
400g tin chopped tomatoes
250g cooked chickpeas (0r a 400g in, well drained and rinsed)
1 teaspoon sugar
400-500g Swiss Chard
250g Orecchiette or other pasta
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a medium-large pan and sauté the onion for 10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, chilli flakes and tomato puree and cook for a further two minutes. Then add the tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and sugar, and season to taste. Partially cover the pan with the lid and let simmer, stirring occasionally.
Cut the ribs from the chard and discard, then chop the leaves, not too finely. Bring a pan of water to the boil, then add the chard and cook for 5 minutes until it is wilted and softening. Drain the chard out of the water with tongs or a pasta scoop and add to the tomato mixture and continue to simmer.
Add the Orecchiette to the water in which the chard was cooked and boil until al dente. When it is cooked, drain and add to the tomato and chard mixture and mix well together.


Chard and Cannellini Beans

Serves 4

350-400g Swiss Chard, washed and shredded
A small handful of fresh thyme
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 x 400g tin of cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
Large knob of butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon juice

Cook the chard in salted, boiling water until just ender, drain and keep to one side. In the same pan heat the olive oil and fry the thyme and garlic, add the cannelloni beans with a tablespoon of water to help heat them through, then after a minute or so add the chard and butter. Mix together and season with salt and pepper and a small squeeze of lemon juice. Serve straight away.


Rainbow Chard with Bacon, Garlic and White Wine

Serves 4

1 bag Rainbow chard, washed and coarsely chopped
1 tbsp Olive Oil
2 slices of bacon or pancetta finely chopped (Optional)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/3 cup white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large pan heat the oil over a medium heat, add the bacon and garlic and saute until the bacon is crisp and the garlic is lightly browned.
Add the chard, salt and white wine, turn the heat down to low, cover and cook until tender, approximately 10-12 minutes. Season with pepper and serve.


Rainbow Chard with Coriander and Peanuts

Large handful of Rainbow Chard, wash, remove stems and chop, leave leaves as they are.
1 ½ teaspoons coriander seeds and 1 dried red chilli
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 garlic Clove, chopped
1 Medium onion, peeled and finely sliced
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts, toasted and crushed

Lightly toast the coriander seeds and dried chilli together in a small heavy based frying pan over a medium heat for a minute or two until they begin to crackle, shaking the pan constantly. Crush finely using a pestle and mortar. Heat the oil in a wok, add the crushed coriander and chill mixture and sauté for one minute. Add the chopped garlic and sauté until golden brown.Add the sliced onion and chard stems and sauté until softened, then add the tomatoes, stir in the tumeric. Cook on a low heat for a couple of minutes. Add the chard leaves and cook on a low heat for a few minutes until the chard begins to wilt. Add the crushed peanuts, toss to mix and serve at once.


Tomato and Chard Tart

1 Shortcrust pastry flan case
350g Chard, shredded
350g Tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Garlic Cloves, chopped
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 tbsp fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
2 Organic eggs, beaten
125g Cheddar cheese grated

Preheat the oven to 220c/425f/Gas mark 7.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions and garlic and sauté until softened, add the tomatoes, chard, herbs and seasoning and simmer the mixture for another 5 minutes. Put the mixture into the bottom of your flan case. Pour over the beaten eggs and top with grated cheese and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.


Chard, Ginger and Oyster Sauce

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 2.5cm piece of root ginger, peeled and cut into julienne strips
Chard, stems sliced and leaves shredded
100ml Thai oyster sauce (or use watered down Chinese oyster sauce)

Steam the chard for 5-8 minutes until just tender. Heat a wok or large saucepan, add the oil and ginger and stir fry for a minute. Add the chard and cook for 30 seconds, pour on the oyster sauce and toss together.