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Swiss Chard Stalks: Best way to cook?


Chef BV
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I have some stalks from some swiss chard that I cleaned a few days ago and I'm looking to see the best way to cook them. I'm assuming a braise or stew is probably best, but I was wondering if anyone had good ideas for the stalks. Thanks!

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Marcella Hazan has a wonderful recipe in one of her Classic Italian Cooking books for a gratin made with chard stalks. I can't remember the recipe exactly, but I think it was short pieces of the stalks, topped with grated Parmesan and bits of butter. The stalks might have been blanched first.

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I like to use them with the leaves. They give a bit of extra texture to the dish. Rhubarb chard stems seem to be particularly flavorful, almost beet-like in their sweet earthy yumminess.

90% of the time I cook chard exactly same way.

Heat pan. Olive Oil. Minced garlic, anchovy, pepper flakes, saute. Chopped chard stems, salt, a bit longer over high heat. Torn chard leaves, juice of 1/2 lemon or chicken stock. Cover, reduce heat and cook until leaves are tender.

Edited by eje (log)

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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In Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini, Elizabeth Schneider has a method for cooking chopped beet stems as a condiment; it works great for chard stems as well. Simmer a cup of water with a tablespoon each of sugar and olive oil, 3 tablespoons of cider vinegar, garlic, dried chiles, salt, coriander and fennel seeds. Add the chopped stems and simmer until tender. Reduce the liquid if necessary and cool. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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I second the suggestion to blanch them and make a gratin (this is also wonderful with both the leaves and the stems, wilted separately). I do mine with parmesan and bechamel, then a sprinkling of fresh bread crumbs over the top.

They're also good pickled.

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I do all of the above with the stems, plus I use them in place of bok choy in various dishes. Here in France the chard is really giant, with at least a foot of stems, so you have to use them in everything if you want the greens. They have a neutral flavor, so they adapt to a variety of cuisines.

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  • 10 months later...

BUMP!

I now have to deal with an enormous amount of swiss chard from my garden. I will use some of the greens for various recipe but I am running out of ideas for the stems!

My favorite way to use the stems so far is simply to steam them and serve them cold or lukewarm with a vinaigrette (mine is heavy on shallots and is sweetened with honey).

I will make a gratin tonight but might need more suggestions.

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can you clean and steam them cool and freeze for later or just clean and save in your stock bag?

Never thought about freezing them... I did think about pickling them though. I might try to freeze some next time and will report here later.

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