Braised swiss chard takes intimidating ingredients and, with simple easy steps, makes them luxurious. Once you know the trick to braising leafy greens, you can do this with any winter green of your choice! Throw in some sweet dried berries, salty bacon, tangy pickled onions, or crunchy nuts and you have a winning side dish!
Yield: 3-4 servings
Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan
For the braised chard
•2 bunches Swiss chard (about 1-1.5 lbs)
•2 tablespoons light olive oil, plus more for drizzling
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•5 tablespoons water
•1 tablespoon lemon juice
•1 pinch sea salt
•Freshly ground black pepper
•1 pinch Aleppo pepper or red chili flakes
•1/4 cup dried currants
•1/3 cup pine nuts
•1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
For the tahini drizzle
•1/4 cup tahini paste
•Zest of 1 lemon
•2 tablespoons lemon juice (Juice of about 1/2 lemon)
•1 tablespoon water
•1 clove garlic, zested
•1 teaspoon maple syrup
•¼ teaspoons sea salt
•Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Prepare tahini sauce: Combine tahini, lemon zest, lemon juice, water, garlic and salt, and whisk well (I love to shake this up in a jar). Brands of tahini vary, so you may need to adjust the amount of water, adding a little more if the sauce is looking a bit thick. You want it to look like runny honey.
2. Wash chard thoroughly and dry well. Separate stalks from the leaves. Finely chop half of the stalks (you can save the rest for another dish) and roughly chop leaves.
3. Preheat a large saucepan or cast iron over medium heat. When hot and a little bit of water on pan sizzles, about 30-60 seconds, place chard stalks in pan. Add minced garlic. Sauté for 1 minute to sweat the chard and garlic. Add a pinch of sea salt and 3 tbsp water. Stir well, cover, and cook for 10 minutes until the stalks are soft.
4. Add the chard leaves, lemon juice, 2 tbsp of water, pinch of sea salt, aleppo pepper or red chili flakes, currants, and a generous grind of black pepper. Cover and let the chard braise (cook) for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often, until leaves are cooked. (Be careful not to overcook!) Once soft, take lid off pan and increase heat to high, and cook for about 5 more minutes until all water evaporates from pan. Take greens off heat and let rest, covered, to cool and relax for 5 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, while chard is cooking, preheat a separate saucepan over low heat and add pine nuts. Toast until nuts just turn golden brown (careful not to overcook!), and then take pan off heat and place nuts into a bowl to rest (do not cover!).
6. To serve, spoon the chard into a shallow bowl, top with tahini sauce, pine nuts and optional chopped cilantro as garnish.
Serve with my Mac N’ Cheese, or on top of Mac N’ Cheese or on the side of our Eggplant Tarte for a well-rounded, vegetable rich meal. This chard is also delicious served on top of Greek yogurt with some pita bread!