January 7, 2011

Swiss Chard with Shitakes & Garlic

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I'm obsessed with Swiss Chard. No, seriously. I could eat the stuff for dinner every night and never get sick of it. It's that good and if you haven't tried it, you must! Not only is it absolutely delicious, it is one of the most nutritious vegetables around. One cup of boiled Swiss Chard contains all of your necessary Vitamins K & A for the day, and is also rich in Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and iron. Read more about this healthy vegetable here.

I've only eaten swiss chard for about a year and first learned about it when I won a Purely Elizabeth giveaway. Along with some delicious gluten free pancake mixes, Elizabeth sent me Greens Glorious Greens: More than 140 Ways to Prepare All Those Great-Tasting, Super Healthy, Beautiful Leafy Greens. And a swiss chard addiction was born. I cannot stress how fabulous I think this cookbook is. Each chapter is dedicated to a different type of leafy green and includes information on nutrients, how to buy, and of course how to prepare. I read it and instantly wanted to eat greens every day for the rest of my life. If you're new to eating leafy greens and a healthier 2011 is one of your goals, I highly recommend you pick this recipe book up.

In case you haven't already realized from some of my previous recipes, I'm also slighly obsessed with shitake mushrooms. So it would be pretty obvious to pair my two favorites to create an easy, healthy & delicious dish: Swiss Chard with Shitakes & Garlic.

Some notes about this recipe:
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  • I used shitake mushrooms because like I said, I LOVE them. But feel free to subsitute with any mushroom you like. This would also be incredible with oyster mushrooms or a wild mushroom mixture.
  • Depending on the day, I use either frozen or fresh mushrooms for this dish. You can use either. I keep bags of frozen shitakes in my freezer for "emergency" situations when I don't have any fresh on hand. If you use fresh mushrooms, you'll need to add some cooking liquid to the pan which I've included as an option in the recipe below.
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of garlic to make this more or less garlicky. It's a very flexible recipe.
  • There are several varieties of swiss chard including those with the beautiful red or rainbow stalks. All varieties work well in this recipe so have fun experimenting with the colors. Those colors are due to nutrients and will leak out into the cooking liquid during cooking. Do not discard the liquid! It's delicious and full of those nutrients I keep mentioning. Serve the dish over rice or quinoa and pour the liquid over it. Yummy.
  • That brings me to the swiss chard stalks. These are both edible and delicious so do not cut them off & throw them away. Simply trim & discard just the bottom of the stalks and then chop the rest of the vegetable to cook. With braising, the stalks will soften to an almost buttery texture. Again, yummy. 
  • Try to use younger swiss chard with somewhat smaller leaves. The larger and old the chard, the woodier the stems will be. Not as yummy.
  • The greens will drastically reduce in volume when cooked. Make sure you start with a pan or pot large enough to hold them.
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And without further adieu, the recipe.
Swiss Chard with Shitakes & Garlic
serves 2-4
 
1 spritz of Olive Oil (from a spray oil can or misto)
2-4 cloves of Garlic, thinly sliced
10 oz Shitake Mushrooms, frozen or fresh
1/4 cup Vegetable Stock or Water (only if using fresh mushrooms)
1 large bunch of Swiss Chard, rinsed well and chopped into 1/2"-1" pieces
Salt & Pepper to taste
Sesame Seeds (optional)

Heat a large pot over medium high heat and spritz with the oil spray. Add the sliced garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes, until they begin to turn translucent. Add the frozen mushrooms or add the fresh mushrooms and cooking liquid, and allow to cook for 5 minutes until the frozen ones are defrosted or the fresh ones are softened. Add the greens (no need to dry them off after washing), reduce the heat to low-medium, and cover the pot. The water from the greens will release and they will begin to wilt. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring the greens every few minutes so that heat is evenly distributed, until the leaves are wilted and the stems are soft. Season with salt & pepper to meet your taste buds' fancy.
Serve over brown rice or quinoa and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Enjoy!
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