[Eating Rainbow | Orange | Orange Swiss Chard]
Everyone’s pushing green today, but unfortunately, we’re eating orange this week. And yet, we’re going to submit that we can still be green with a version of Beans and Greens that uses an orange-colored Swiss chard.
Swiss chard is relatively new to us. We’ve historically passed up Swiss chard at the market, not because we were purposely ignoring it, but simply because of our habitual loyalty to spinach and more recently, kale. However, given that orange is, unexpectedly, a difficult color to eat differently for seven days, we stopped in front of the chard when we noticed that some of the stalks in each of the rainbow bunches were orange. We bought up enough bunches to put together a single bunch of orange ones for a pot of Braised Swiss Chard with Beans and Parmesan.
Don’t be surprised if this dish comes up ever week hereafter with yellow chard, green chard, blue chard and purple chard (ok, we didn’t actually see blue and green versions…)
As for the nutrients in Swiss chard, despite the color in the stalks, the real source of nutrients is in the green leaves. Like other dark leafy green, Swiss chard is full of calcium and potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A and beta-carotene. And Swiss chard has an enormous ROI (return on investment) – one cup of chopped Swiss chard is a mere 35 calories, but provides a whopping 300% of the daily value for vitamin K. There are also some little known phytonutrients in Swiss chard that regulate blood sugar levels, and provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support in the body.
Swiss Chard with White Beans and Parmesan
based loosely on a recipe from the New York Times Health section
serves 4 as side dish, 2 as a vegetarian meal-in-a-bowl
1 bunch of Swiss chard (a “bunch” is about as many stalk as you can grip in one hand)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, finely minced
4 cups water or unsalted vegetable or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2×4-inch Parmesan rind
2 cans cannellini or white beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
½ teaspoon black pepper
grated Parmesan for garnish
Wash and dry chard. Cut off chard stems and finely dice. Roughly chop chard leaves.
Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and diced chard stems. Cook until chard stems soften (but try not to let brown), about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook additional 1 minute until garlic gets fragrant (try not to let onions and garlic brown too much).
Add water/stock, bay leaf, Parmesan rind to pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes to reduce the stock.
Stir in the chard leaves and beans, and simmer for about 10 minutes. It should be a little thicker than a soup, thinner than a stew.
Season to taste with salt and fresh black pepper. Remove bay leaf and Parmesan rind. Serve in bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese.
This tastes better the second day.