There was a super deal on Swiss Chard at the market the other day - I mean big time. Two huge bunches of gorgeous organic chard for $6.00. I left with, um … a lot, because we really like it. Rainbow chard, green chard, red chard. It was an explosion of outrageous leafy color spilling out of my grocery bags.
Normally, I do chard quickly. Saute pan, olive oil, a bit of garlic. Badda bing, badda boom. Done. Maybe add some golden raisins and toasted pine nuts. But tonight I needed something more to take to a potluck dinner. Hmmmm. Tomatoes - fresh and canned, some Italian brown beans, fresh herbs maybe. Loads of onions. Yup. If you’re dieting, this is for you. If you’re trying to cut down on sodium, this is for you. If you’re trying to branch out and discover that green stuff in the produce section, this is for you.
It was so damn good that I almost decided to keep it at home, except that we’re going out the next two nights. All this needed was some big crusty bread and wine. This is a completely vegan dish that confirmed omnivores can deal with and enjoy.
The ingredients are so simple: One giant bunch of chard - color of your choice - rinsed, drained and cut up. A can of whole tomatoes - and if, like me, you had a bunch of nice little cherry tomatoes - throw those in, too. A half of a small onion - minced. A bunch of fresh garlic - I put four or five cloves in. Smashed. A can of quality beans like Canellini - rinsed and drained. Some really good olive oil - I don’t usually uses the good stuff to cook with, but in this case did. And finally … a lot of good fresh herbs. Rosemary, oregano, marjoram, thyme, parsley.
Oh la, la. The smell of fresh herbs is to die for.
Saute the onions, garlic and herbs in quite a nice bit of olive oil. You’re using the really flavorful stuff, so don’t be skimpy. Toss in the cherry tomatoes, while you’re at it. Let the onions get almost transparent.
Mash in the chard. It’s going to threaten to overwhelm the pot, but be forceful. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Put the lid on and let it cook - braise - for about two minutes.
This is what you get:
Reduce the heat, and now add in the tomatoes - breaking them up with your fingers - and the beans.
A couple pinches of sea salt and a bit of pepper is all that I put in beyond this point. And it was heaven for these serious vegetable lover. I’d be comfy serving this to any of my vegan friends. For the flexitarian crowd, add some nice curds of fresh goat cheese to melt on top.
Now go get a nice loaf of hot bread, some good butter, a glass of wine and enjoy! Oh, and it went very nicely with Suggie’s brisket tonight.