Thursday, February 14, 2008

Baked Swiss Chard Stems Recipe with Olive Oil and Parmesan

Baked Swiss Chard Stems with ParmesanLast week I posted a great recipe for Swiss Chard and Mushroom Squares, and told everyone not to throw away their chard stems, since I'd spotted this recipe on Up a Creek without a PatL. Pat also introduced me to the book the recipe came from, Vegetables Every Day, without a doubt one of the best cookbooks I've ever owned. (Thanks again, Pat!) The cookbook version of Swiss Chard Stems with Butter and Parmesan was no doubt delicious, but I decided to substitute the butter for a slight misting of olive oil, and it still tasted wonderful. I think it would take as many as three bunches of chard to come up with the pound of chard stems the original recipe calls for, but I used the stems from one bunch of chard which made about two servings (or in my case, a whole dinner because I ate the entire thing at one sitting.) If you like chard but haven't stumbled on a good way to cook the stems, this is simple and delicious, and I love the idea that you're making a side dish out of something that might get thrown away.

I did share a lot of good information about swiss chard in the post last week, but in case you missed how nutritious chard is, it's something you should be eating every week. Plus, if you're a vegetable gardener, here's an expert's take on why you should be growing swiss chard. Swiss chard is also one of the most versatile ingredients you could ever ask for. I've noticed over the last few weeks that a lot of food bloggers are falling in love with swiss chard, so I thought I'd join the trend and use the same ingredient two weeks in a row for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Erin of The Skinny Gourmet. (She's currently living in Ghana which makes me so jealous I can hardly stand it.) Now here's how I made this fabulous side dish from chard stems, plus lots of other chard ideas from other bloggers.

Just a reminder of how to cut the chard leaves away from the stems. I think leaving a bit of leaf on the stem is fine; I actually liked the way it added some color to the stems.

I cut the stems on the diagonal, cutting each chard stem into 3 or 4 pieces, with each piece about three inches long.

Stems are parboiled in salted water, then misted with olive oil and sprinkled with coarsely grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 F for about 20 minutes. Yum!


Baked Swiss Chard Stems with Olive Oil and Parmesan
(Makes 2 side dish servings, can be doubled. Recipe slightly adapted from Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop.)

Ingredients:
1 bunch chard stems
1/4 tsp. salt
olive oil for spraying pan and chard
1/4 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese (I used Grana Padano from Costco, but any type of hard aged cheese would be good here.)
coarse ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:
Trim any discolored ends from chard stems, then cut stems on an angle into pieces about 3 inches long. If some stems are very thick, you may wish to cut them lengthwise so all pieces are approximately the same thickness.

Preheat oven to 400 F (or 375 F with convection.) Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt and chard stems and boil about 6 minutes. Let chard drain well.

Spray a non-stick baking dish with olive oil. Place chard in the pan and mist lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with cheese. (If doubling the recipe, make two layers, misting each layer with oil and sprinkling with cheese.) Bake about 20 minutes, or until chard is softened and cheese is slightly browned on the edges. Season with fresh ground black pepper if desired and serve hot.

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South Beach Suggestions:
The original version of this dish with butter would have had too much saturated fat to be considered South Beach Diet friendly. Replacing the butter with a light misting of olive oil makes this dish much lower in saturated fat, but there is still some saturated fat in the parmesan cheese. I would consider this to be a "once in a while treat" for South Beach, but it would be fine occasionally for any phase of the diet.

More Ideas for Using Swiss Chard Stems:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Swiss Chard Leaves and Stems from Just Hungry
Sauteed Swiss Chard Ribs with Cream and Pasta from Simply Recipes
Swiss Chard Au Gratin from Exploring the Silver Spoon
Swiss Chard, Beef, and Chickpea Soup from Daily Unadventures in Cooking
Swiss Chard Gratin from A Veggie Venture
Silverbeet Gratin from Green Gourmet Giraffe
Rainbow Chard Mushroom Sandwiches from One Hot Stove
Rainbow Chard with Chickpeas from Everybody Loves Sandwiches
Wild Greens with Celery-Mint Tomato Sauce from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
Chard and Feta Tart from Bird Food
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41 comments:

  1. Thank you for the recipe. I use "greens" often but have never tried parboiling the stems before utilizing them in some manner. It amazes me how fibrous the stems are compared to the leafy greens.

    I look forward to checking all the links in your article for other great ideas!

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  2. That's a brilliant recipe Kalyn. I too love the idea of using an ingredient that might otherwise get thrown away. I'll try this next time I get some chard. Not sure I can remember to eat it every week though!

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  3. Very, very thoughtful as are the brussels sprouts and broccoli recipes.
    You have given a great deal of thought to healthy dishes. As my Doc told me, if your great grandmother did not serve it up, you should not either.

    Having worked in a French kitchen under a German chef forty years ago, this kind of cooking is so crisp and clear and healthy. I love it.

    All the best to you.

    Peace and Grace

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  4. Chard stems are my favorite part. There are some European varieties of chard that are mostly stem, with attenuated leaves only.

    I don't eat other stems (kale, ack!), but chard is a whole different ballgame.

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  5. What a wonderful idea - they look like cardoons!
    And anything with Parmesan and Olive oil has to be good!

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  6. I never throw away the stems; I usually just steam them with lemon juice and a bit of vinegar.

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  7. I keep forgetting about swiss chard on my grocery list!
    Happy Valentine's Day!

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  8. Kaly, what a delicious way to serve veggies - anything with parmesan has my undivided attention! :)

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  9. Hmmm... guess I'll have to jump on the Swiss Chard bandwagon! Looks great, but I've never ever had it before. Love to try new things so thanks for sharing :)

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  10. Oooh, yes - definitely my kind of recipe!

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  11. And I just happen to have a big, beautiful bunch of Swiss chard in my fridge!

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  12. Swiss chard Stems...I'll have to give it a try. My father always loved Swiss Chard and I'll always avoided it.

    I've recently been to a restaurant that served a flash-fried swiss chard with olive oil and parm. It was amazing.

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  13. Hi everyone,
    Fun hearing from people who might try this. Cynthia, the stems were not the least bit bitter. I did hear that Kale stems are very bitter though, so maybe that's what you're thinking of.

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  14. I could eat Swiss chard everyday and this dish reminds me a lot of one my grandmother used to make to prevent wasting food. Thanks for reminding me to make that dish again and I will use your recipe next time.

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  15. Just found your website - it's wonderful! What an inspiration you are. The "south beach suggestions" are a nice extra bit of info.

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  16. I love Swiss chard and so I´m delighted to find a new recipe. As usually thanks for sharing Kalyn.

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  17. This recipe is so fantastic, I've already made it twice this week. We absolutely love it. My boyfriend said we should make this for our next dinner party, that's how good it is!

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  18. Madeline, thanks for the feedback. I always love hearing from someone who tried the recipe and liked it! I totally loved this too!

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  19. Swiss chard is one of my family's favorites. I just made this for dinner, and it was awesome! I've linked to this recipe in my post today. Check it out at http://www.dirtandnoise.com/2008/03/when-will-it-spring.html#links

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  20. We had this tonight and it was SO good! Thanks for another winner of a recipe!

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  21. Ilina and Nan, thanks both of you for letting me know that you liked it. I need to buy some more chard so I can make it again.

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  22. You know I love your blog and am always getting great ideas from you. I have some chard sitting in the fridge and am TIRED of greens (been eating beet greens and kale, cooked with onions, ham, or bacon), so I was Googling "chard and cheese" and lookie what came up! Your site! LOL! And boy does THIS look amazingly good to me. I love the stems... so tender and good. I had seen this post back in Feb and forgot about it. This will be dinner tomorrow. THANK YOU! Thank you for putting out so many wonderful VEGGIE recipes. It has truly made a difference in my weight loss efforts and my life. You're awesome :)

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  23. Lyn, what can I say except thanks. Comments like this mean the world to me.

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  24. This was delicious! I added carrots, cut longways, then sliced on the diagonal to be about the same size as the chard stems. Yum! and thanks.

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  25. Anne Marie, love the idea of adding carrots. I'm guessing most people might not have quite enough chard stems, so this is really useful!

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  26. I never knew what to do with the stems. It always seemed like a big waste to throw them in the compost pile. Your pictures make this look so delicious!

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  27. I just stumbled on your site when I was looking for info on cooking swiss chard stems (it seemed a waste to throw them away). It was fantastic. I was wondering if there was a way to incorporate some of the leaves into this. It might be an interesting variation. Maybe boil them for just the last minute so they don't break down too much and bake them all together?

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  28. Taste Bud, definitely I think you could use some of the leaves in this, just add them towards the end of the cooking time.

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  29. This is an amazing recipe! We had no leftovers! I used the greens with this as well and just included them in the layers (although I only parboiled them for a minute or so first). There was extra water in the dish when it came out of the oven, but I moved it with a slotted spoon before serving and nobody but me noticed.

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  30. I don't understand why anyopne would throw chard stems away--they are the best part in my opinion.

    What I normally do with my stems is chop them up, and saute them for about 3 minutes before I add in the sliced up greens. No waste at all--and what a yummy combination!

    I am going to try this recipe though, looks yummy, and I will separate the greens and the stems just to try this.

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  31. Susan, I agree, I love them stems. Hope you enjoy the recipe.

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  32. This recipe was great! I have never had swiss chard stems before. Next time I might dare to add a little galic. Delicious.

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  33. I love the idea of adding garlic. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  34. I just made this with younger chard stems (they were much narrower than those in your photo). I didn't parboil them since I was experimenting and they turned out great! Thanks for the recipe. Also, for those who are throwing out the stems and don't feel like cooking them, you can use them when making stock. I toss them in a freezer bag until I have enough stuff to make a batch of stock.

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  35. Al, great tips. Thanks for sharing.

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  36. My husband is trying Swiss chard for the first time. Actually we both are. We didn't know what to do with the stems. This recipe is a revelation! You can bake them??!!!

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  37. This is a great idea - I usually throw these type of stalks in the freezer with my "make into stock" bag of scraps, but I will try this - any thoughts on if this would work for Kale stems?

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  38. Laurie, I think the kale stems would have a much stronger taste, but might not be bad. I have only tried this with chard.

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Thanks for joining the conversation! I love hearing from readers and even though I can't always reply to every comment, I will always answer specific questions on a recipe as soon as possible. Sometimes I'm answering by iPhone, so my replies may be short!

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