Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Swiss Chard with Carmelized Onions and Walnuts

I'm not 100% sure I love this recipe, but I'm determined to come up with a good sauteed Swiss chard recipe, and this is getting close.  I like the fact that it uses the chard stems in addition to the leaves.  It is an odd combination of sweet and savory, but it works for some reason.  I prefer the addition of the chick peas - it keeps the chard flavor from being too overpowering.

Source:  Adapted from chowhound.chow.com

2 T. walnuts
1 T. olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard (about 1 lb. or 10 large stalks), washed
2 T. golden raisins
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 t. sea salt
ground black pepper to taste

Toast the pine nuts in skillet until golden brown; set aside to cool.

In a large, deep skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat; add onions and cook until golden brown and very soft, stirring from time to time, about 10 minutes.

While onions are cooking, prepare chard:  pull leaves off stalks by folding leaf together along stalk and pull the stalk away like pulling a zipper.  Cut the stalks into 3/4" pieces; set aside.  Cut or tear leaves into 2" pieces.

Add chard stalks and raisins to onions and cook until stalks are tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Stir occasionally while stalks are cooking.  Once tender, add chard leaves and balsamic vinegar.  Toss to coat the leaves with oil, and cook for about 5 minutes or until leaves are wilted and tender.  Season with salt and pepper; transfer to serving dish and top with pine nuts.

Note: if you would like to turn this from a side dish into a main dish, add 1 15-oz. can of chickpeas (drained) that have been sauteed in olive oil and 1 clove minced garlic, and seasoned with sea salt and pepper.

Just a warning: This may not be dish you will want to serve for company, to a picky eater, or to anyone who's not committed to the virtues of Swiss chard. But it's a great recipe to introduce you to chard and its magical qualities. You may need to tweak this recipe to suit your own palate, just as I did. However, hopefully it will inspire you to continue on the chard journey, just as it did me!

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