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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Swiss Chard & Northern Beans

Swiss Chard is to the Italians as collard greens is to sourthern americans.  It is a staple in the Italian diet.  It is cheap, easy to cook and readily available.  Let me re-phrase is readily available in Italy, but here in the U.S. it is a bit harder to find.  I used to put swiss chard in my Minestrone Soup, but over the years it just gets harder and harder to find the stuff.  I now usually give in and use fresh spinach instead.  Unfortunately, it is not the same.  Sure, swiss chard and spinach are part of the broad leaf vegetable family, but swiss chard is much heartier in texture and taste.  In my recipe I braise it in a large pot with some low sodium chicken broth, a bit of olive oil and some garlic, salt & fresh ground pepper.  I then add some italian northern beans to bring the dish all together.  This is a wonderful side dish to almost anything; meat, chicken, fish and most of all pasta.  Don't be afraid to try something different if you have never tried swiss chard before.  By the is readily available at my favorite grocery store, Caputo's Fresh Markets!

  • 2 large heads of swiss chard - tough ends removed (washed and dried) rough chopped
  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 3 garlic clove chopped
  • 2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • 12 oz. can italian northern beans (drained & rinsed)
  • salt, pepper & crushed red pepper to taste
  • fresh grated parmesan cheese for garnish is optional
  1. In a large pot or dutch oven heat the olive oil.
  2. Add chopped garlic and saute for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add chopped swiss chard and toss well so that the olive oil coats the chard. Let cook for about 3 minutes - stirring often.
  4. Add chicken broth about 1/2 cup at a time.  Stir after each addition and let simmer (cooking on medium heat) for 2 minutes before adding the next 1/2 cup.  When all chicken broth has been added stir well.  Place top on pot and let cook/braise for about 15 minutes.  You need this time to soften the chard.
  5. Add northern beans and seasoning to taste, stir.
  6. Remove from heat.  Place in bowl and garnish with fresh grated parmesan cheese.

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