Friday, November 14, 2008

Chard Stems

All too often, the lovely chard stems that I photographed back on November 7 end up in the worm bin. I love sauteed chard leaves and don't seem to get around to cooking the stems. So, last night I got home late and needed a vegetable to accompany the Duck with Prunes and Olives that I had pulled out of the freezer. I was not going to go out into the garden with a flashlight to forage for something. What was in the fridge? A big bunch of Golden Chard stems. Okay, what shall I do with you?

Here's what I came up with, sorry there are no measurements, it all went together quickly on the fly.

Savory Chard Stems Braised in Their Own Juices

Chop about a dozen chard stems crosswise into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices. Heat a couple of tablespoons olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Toss in 2 cloves of minced garlic, 2 chopped fresh chiles (I used a couple of Argentina chiles, photo on Nov 12 post), and a handful of pine nuts. Cook for a minute or two. Add the chopped chard stems and sprinkle with a pinch of salt (helps to pull the liquid from the chard). Cook for a few minutes until the chard starts releasing its liquid. Turn the heat to low and cover the pan. Allow the chard to braise in its own juices for about ten minutes. Season with a splash of vietnamese fish sauce (my secret savory sauce - good stuff!) and a couple of splashes of vinegar (sherry), and a pinch of sugar. Cook a bit more to allow the flavors to meld.

Not a pretty dish, but it was tasty.


  1. I confess. I almost always toss the chard stems. I really love the leaves, but I hate beets and the stems taste too much like beets to me. Occasionally I put them in a soup where they disappear and I can't taste them, but otherwise I send them to the compost.

  2. Sounds yummy! I have a recipe for braised chard that includes the stems. Always a few tough bits that end up in the compost but otherwise they cook down pretty well, if you leave them long enough (45 min. I think). Email me if you want the recipe!

  3. I do actually like chard stems, for some reason I just don't seem to get around to cooking them. There's a recipe for Chard Stem Gratin in Chez Panisse Vegetables that I've had my eye on, maybe I'll get around to it soon.

    Karen, I would love to try your recipe for braised chard, please email it to me! Thanks.


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