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How to Cook Red Chard

By Chris Dinesen Rogers

Though it may not be the most popular of vegetables, Swiss red chard provides an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. One cup of chopped chard contains only 35 calories. It also supplies more than 700 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin K. It is a good source of calcium, magnesium and vitamin A. Although you can eat the tender, young leaves raw, the stems require cooking to enhance their flavor. Red chard is sold in bundles that will provide enough vegetables for more than one meal. It will keep for about two to three days in the refrigerator.

Preparation

Rinse chard leaves well under the faucet. The textured leaves can serve as traps for dirt and grime. Use cool water, taking care to loosen any debris.

Shake the chard over the sink to remove excess water; this will help avoid splattering when you begin to cook them. You can blot them dry with a few paper towels.

Separate the leaves from the stems; The leaves and stems require different cooking times.

Cut off the last 1/2 inch of stems to remove any damaged ends. Then, cut the remaining stems into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside.

Remove the tough spine of the leaves. Hold a leaf so the back is facing you. Grasp the thick spine at its base and peel off from the leaves. Discard the spines you remove or save them for your compost.

Coarsely chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

Preparation

Heat a skillet to moderate high heat. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to the pan and swirl. Add two cloves of sliced garlic. Sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds until it becomes fragrant.

Add chopped stems to the skillet. Using a spatula, stir the contents of the skillet to coat the stems in oil. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper onto the contents and stir again.

Allow contents to cook for about eight minutes until just beginning to soften. You can add additional oil if the skillet appears dry.

Add chopped leaves to the skillet and stir to coat with oil. Sprinkle a bit more salt and pepper onto the leaves.

Cook the red chard for an additional four minutes. Unlike spinach, the leaves will not wilt considerably. Continue sauteing until they have reached the desired degree of tenderness. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Tips

Red chard has a low glycemic index, making it a healthy addition for the diabetic diet.

Experiment with other additions to sauteed chard, including onion, leeks and other dark, leafy greens.

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