For Christmas this year I got Heidi Swanson's fantastic book "Super Natural Cooking". Since Kay and I both had 2 weeks vacation, I had a lot of opportunity to cook from this book and I took advantage of it. I read it straight through in one sitting. Not only are the recipes delicious but it also has very interesting information about various flours, sweeteners and fats. I highly recommend it!
We've decided to post this recipe because we found it the most surprising. Who knew that Kay and I both love chard?!! We'd never had it before but we are now big fans. To begin with, I didn't even care how it tasted because it was so beautiful with those dark green leaves and red stalk but then we tasted it, raw and cooked, and it tasted good too so that was a bonus!
As I keep saying, Kay doesn't really like cooked greens so I saved a handful of the chard for her to eat raw but I also gave her a small portion of the cooked meal. She ate it all without any complaining so that is success in my book!
Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans with Greens
1/2 pound large dried white beans
3 tablespoons olive oil
Fine grain sea salt
1 1/2 cup onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
5 large red chard leaves with 2 stems reserved
Place the beans in a bowl and cover with water. Leave overnight.
Drain the beans. In a large pot, cover the beans and 1/2 cup chopped onion with plenty of water. Leave to simmer on the stove top for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours (until cooked but not so mushy that they are breaking in the water). After about 1 hour add a pinch of salt and pepper. (I cooked the whole bag of beans but only used 2 cups for the recipe. I froze the remaining beans in 2 cup batches).
Chop the chard by removing the stem and then rolling the leaf lengthwise. Then slice into thin ribbons. Chop two of the stems in a small dice.
Using your largest non stick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the beans in one layer, stir to coat in the oil and then let cook without stirring for 3-4 minutes (until they start to brown slightly). Turn the beans and let cook an additional 3-4 minutes to brown the other side.
Add the remaining onion, garlic, and chard stem and cook 2 minutes. Add salt to taste. Stir in the chard leaves and cook until slightly wilted, about 3-4 minutes.
Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan if desired.
Kay: Red chard tastes like spinach and lettuce put together and I like both of them. This tasted good cooked too. I didn't like the beans too much though.
Mom (Dana): This was so much better than I ever expected! I ate two huge helping of it. My chard leaves must have been much larger than Heidi's because she calls for 6-7 leaves but I used only 5 and mine had a much higher chard to bean ratio than what her picture showed. Also, we forgot to put the cheese on at the end but I don't think it needed it.