Thursday, October 6, 2011

Recipe: Swiss Chard with Mushrooms

I can't believe I've gone this long without trying (or at least knowingly trying) Swiss Chard.  It is such a great leafy green that doesn't err too far on the bitter side.  Like any leafy green it wilts down to almost nothing, my two farmer's market bunches would have made 2-3 servings.  I buffed it up with some button mushrooms.  Did you know the stems of the swiss chard are edible as well? Those got chopped up and thrown in as well. This dish would be nice as a bed for a fatty fish such as salmon, or served alongside chicken or steak.  In the winter it would also be a nice dish on its own, served in a bowl, perhaps with a shredding of parmesan cheese.  

You will need: 
2 bunches swiss chard
Reserved swiss chard stems
1 pound mushrooms 
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Garlic cloves, fine chopped (1 medium clove=1/8 teaspoon good garlic powder)
Cayenne or red pepper flakes
Olive Oil

For this recipe I think it works best by starting with the prep work, it will significantly reduce the stress during cooking time.  Take the swiss chard by the base of the stem and pull upward on the leaf to strip it off, then tear each half leaf into 3-4 pieces.  Gently wash all the leaves and dry them in the colander/salad spinner/on paper towels.  Also give the stems a quick rinse in the sink and then chop them into bite sized pieces.  Dampen a paper towel and wipe off the tops of each mushroom and remove the stems.  Quarter each mushroom cap.  (If using them, garlic cloves should be finely chopped, and the half onion should be chopped).

Heat a large, deep pan with a turn of olive oil over medium high heat.  When hot, add the swiss chard STEMS and cook for 2-3 minutes (adding salt, and pepper).  Add the onion and cook for 3-4 more minutes.  Add the chopped garlic and cook for 30 seconds before adding the mushrooms.  Cook for 3 minutes and then add salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne or red pepper flakes (the last two to taste).  Cook until the mushrooms are just soft and brown.  Add in the chard leaves, in batches if necessary, and cover the pot.  Stir occasionally until the leaves are wilted.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  

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