January 8, 2011

It's Not Easy Being Green...Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard.  I had heard of it, watched numerous (hundreds, I'm sure) Food Network chefs prepare it, but could never, ever imagine consuming it myself in the past...until I read up on the incredible nutritional value of this super veggie.

Swiss chard is a good source of vitamins C, A, B6, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper and folic acid (attention all pregnant ladies!).  You can find swiss chard with dark or light green leaves, and the stems vary in colour, from white to pink.

So there I was, in the store, searching for a different green to try out after my rapini fail.  Swiss chard, with it's dark green leaves and rhubarb-like stems, seemed like the next best choice.  The "PRODUCT OF ONTARIO" sign won me over.  Hours later, I find myself standing in my kitchen, not really knowing what to do next.  I find many different recipes online, good and bad (what is it with smothering all healthy green veggies in cheese?!).  I decide to try a recipe similar to the one I used for rapini.

I cut the stems away from the leaves and added them to my skillet first (they are tougher than the leaves and need longer to cook).  After a good soak in cold water, I chopped the leaves into 1-inch pieces and added them to the skillet, along with butter, salt & pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Once the leaves were wilted (but not soggy), I served immediately.

My husband and I instantly loved the earthy flavour of the swiss chard.  The boys not so much but they were willing to try.  We've been eating this veggie almost weekly since our first trial run, and I even served it at a family dinner on Christmas Eve.  We don't push and pressure the boys to eat it, we try to avoid doing that with any food.  Instead, I place some on their plates with the rest of their meal, and allow them to try it themselves.  Big-A will happily eat the stems, and ate all of the leaves during our last dinner.  Lil-J spits it out but I still offer it to him, hoping that one day he will also enjoy it.  I'm sure it will happen with time.

I never thought I would ever say that I love swiss chard...but I do!  This vegetable has a permanent place in our refrigerator and in our diets.  Give it a try, don't be afraid.  If this extremely picky eater can do it, so can you :)  And remember not to force new foods onto your children.  Offer it to them and allow them to make their own food choices.  If they see a new food on their plate each time that you're eating it, they will eventually give it a try.

If you have a favourite swiss chard recipe, I'd love to hear from you!

Bon appetit!


Kailin said...

I wonder if mixing it with pasta, little butter and garlic would be good?

Shauna MacKenzie said...

Yum! I've seen many recipes adding swiss chard to pasta. I'm sure it would be delish! Let me know if you try it.

Kailin said...

OK will do! Was at sobey's last night and checked out the swiss chard - DON'T BUY IT THERE. It looked gross. Metro looked a little better.

Shauna MacKenzie said...

I really don't like shopping at Sobeys - not a fan at all of their produce! I always buy my produce at Metro and never have an issue. When you're buying swiss chard, look for tight leaves that are bright in colour and make sure that the stems aren't dry. If the leaves do wilt in the fridge, they'll stiffen back up in a cold water bath.