Before I get to today’s recipe, I have some exciting news: Yesterday I was quoted in an article called “How to Go Vegan” in the New York Times Well column. I was thrilled to have the chance to share my ideas with a wider audience, and I hope that those of you who are trying to become vegan will find my suggestions helpful.
Now, on to the recipe. If you want to like Swiss chard but find it too bitter, this one is perfect for you!
Of all the greens, I think chard is the most beautiful. At the end of every summer, I plant a few large pots with tiny Rainbow chard seedlings, and over the fall and early winter, they grow to fill the planters with their dark green, red-, yellow-, or white-veined leaves. The red is the most vibrant (and stays colorful even through cooking) but I have a particular fondness for the yellow, whose leaves are a lighter, greener green. However, as much as I try, I haven’t been as happy with chard’s flavor. Though the leaves are tender, I find their flavor more bitter than kale and even mustard greens. Though I continue to cook with it, I’ve really just sort of tolerated the taste of chard.
But when I cut the largest leaves of chard from my garden a few days ago, the last we’re likely to have for another month or two, I was determined to actually enjoy this crop and started thinking that what it needed was some sweetness to balance out the bitterness. As many of you know, I have a habit of mixing fruit into my vegetables, so I started thinking, “What’s in season right now that might go well with chard?” The answer was, of course, apples. I love the bright, crisp flavor of Honeycrisp and SweetTango apples and just happened to have some in a basket in my kitchen, so I cut up two of them to cook along with the chard. But that didn’t seem like quite enough sweetness, so I added some plumped raisins. The results were delicious! The apples and raisins complement the chard so well that there isn’t a trace of bitterness. My husband and I loved the combination, and E, my greens-hating daughter…well, let’s just say she ate it. I’ve come to have realistic goals when it comes to my teenager and greens!
Swiss Chard with Crisp Apples
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 2 pound bunches swiss chard about 1 pound 12 ounces
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 crisp red apples (such as Honeycrisp) cored and chopped
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce tamari, or coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place the raisins in a small bowl and pour enough hot water on them just to barely cover. Set aside.
Cut the stems off of the chard. Trim and discard the bottoms of the stems if they’re dry, and chop the stems into 1/4-inch slices. Set the sliced stems aside. Cut the leaves in half lengthwise and then slice into 1/2-inch strips. Keep the sliced leaves separate from the stems.
Heat a deep, non-stick dutch oven or wok. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until they begin to brown. (If necessary, add water a tablespoon at a time to prevent sticking.) Add the chard stems and apples and cook for another 2 minutes.
Drain the raisins, reserving the water. Add the raisins and the chard leaves to the pan and stir well. Add 1 tablespoon of the raisin water to the pan and cover tightly. Stirring every minute or two, cook until the chard is tender, about 6 minutes. Remove the lid and cook briefly to boil off any excess moisture. Remove from the heat, stir in the soy sauce and apple cider vinegar, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.