My grandmother loved Swiss Chard. It seemed so exotic while I was growing up…no one knew what it was, but I loved the crunchy stems and vigorous leaves. Now you can get it in all colors of the rainbow. And sometime in the next weeks or months, it will be abundant in our area, thanks to my favorite organic gardeners, Peacefield Farms, who started their chard in their hoop house during January!
Try this recipe as a meatless meal sometime. And you can blend in some fresh goat cheese if you want this to be extra lush. You could also stir in a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan, or some grated goat Gouda, to add more body. Who doesn’t like a little extra body?
1 1-pound bunch Swiss chard, thick stems removed and leaves sliced into ribbons
3 scallions, ends trimmed, white and some green parts sliced into thin coins
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
Salt and pepper
Wash the chard, but no need to dry it, just place it in a large pot over high heat. Cook, covered, with just the water clinging to leaves, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 6 minutes.
Press or squeeze out the excess liquid any number of ways, either by wringing it out in cheesecloth (my favorite method), putting it in a mesh strainer and pressing the moisture out with a spatula or large spoon or letting it cool long enough to grab small handfuls and squeezing them to remove as much water as possible.
Wipe out the large pot so you can use it again. Heat milk or cream in a small saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until warm. Keep warm. Meanwhile, cook onion and garlic, if using, in butter in your wiped-out large pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about six minutes. Whisk in flour and cook the resulting roux, whisking, about three minutes. Add warm milk or cream in a slow stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, and simmer, whisking, until thickened, three to four minutes. Stir in chard, then salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until heated through. Now would be a good time to add the fresh or aged (or both) goat cheeses!
To make Creamed Chard and Scallion Pasta: Use 1 3/4 cups of milk instead of 1 1/4 cups. Stir 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan into the sauce while cooking, and keep extra on hand for serving. This should be enough to toss with about half a pound of pasta (more or less depending on how sauced you like your noodles).
Thanks again to Deb at Smitten Kitchen for the details!