Hearty and rustic Swiss chard can weave its way into the best of autumn dishes. Its tender leaves add earthy flavor to soups and stews, while the scarlet and golden shades of some varieties make a beautiful side when simply sauteed. Like other dark, leafy greens, chard is a nutritional powerhouse. But it’s the slightly bitter flavor, which pairs so perfectly with savory meat, nutty cheese and whole grains, that keeps us coming back for more.
Try some of our favorite ways to eat chard in the recipes below, and click to learn more tips for selecting, storing and preparing it.
Polenta with White Cheddar, Chard and Wild Mushrooms
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz./330 g.) polenta
2 bunches chard, tough stems removed
1 lb. (500 g.) assorted wild mushrooms such as chanterelles, porcini, morels or lobster mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely cut or left whole depending on size
1 fresh rosemary sprig, about 6 inches (15 cm.) long
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
4 Tbs. (2 oz./60 g.) unsalted butter
1 Tbs. minced shallots
1 cup (4 oz./125 g.) white Cheddar cheese, shredded or crumbled
In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 8 cups (64 fl. oz./2 l.) water and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to a boil. Add the polenta in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the polenta pulls away from the sides of the pan, 40 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the chard and mushrooms. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the chard leaves, folding them to fit, and the rosemary sprig. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the chard ribs are easily pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain well. Chop coarsely and squeeze dry. Set aside.
In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallots and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl. Reserve the juices.
When the polenta is ready, stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, all but 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g.) of the cheese, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and cook until the butter and cheese have melted, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Return the fry pan you cooked the mushrooms in to medium-high heat. Warm the juices, then add the chard and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until hot and well coated with the juices. Season with 1/2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper
Spoon the polenta into a large serving bowl, top with the chard and mushrooms and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Serve at once. Serves 4 to 6.
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