Swiss chard is one of my favorite greens and with this simple saute it’s simple to whip up as a side dish or as base to mix with pasta/grains.
Round up your ingredients: (1) Bunch Swiss Chard, (2) Thick Slices Bacon, Salt, Pepper, and (2-3) Cloves of Garlic (not pictured)*. I used bacon that I had given a light smoke with my stovetop smoker, but you can use any of your favorite thick cut bacon. Chop up your bacon and throw it in a cold pot or saute pan with a lid and place over medium low heat, uncovered. You want to render as much fat from the bacon as you can, so let it do it’s thing and crisp up. In the meantime you can prep the chard.
*My garlic was a victim of clumsiness and fell into the garbage disposal. If you happen to be clumsy like me (or just out of garlic) the dish does turn out fine without it.
Don’t get too distracted by the smell of bacon as you separate the leaves from the stems of the chard. Take a sharp knife and run it down the edges of the stem, so that the leaves are their own situation. Depending on how speedy you are with the break down, you may want to give the bacon a stir or two to help it cook evenly. Chop the stems to about 2″ sticks and give the leaves a rough chop as well. I leave my leaves around the size of my palm because the shrink so much when cooked, but it’s really personal preference. Now is also when you should slice your garlic. I like just slicing it into little disks so that there are bigger bits in the finished dish.
Toss the stems and garlic into the now crispy bacon, mix them around so that delicious fat gets all over them, and then put the lid on the pot. Keep the heat on medium low. Now’s a great time to pour a glass of wine, check your instagram feed, put out the dog’s dinner so that he stops begging you for bacon (eh hem)…or handle any other cooking you are doing. After about 10 mins the stems should be starting to get tender. Stir one or twice during the process to keep an eye on them.
Get the leaves into the pot. Sprinkle with a small pinch of salt* and another of pepper. Put a couple tablespoons of water (or broth if you have some on hand) in there and stir everything together. I turn the heat up to medium at this point and stir for a minute or two, but if you want you can just skip to the next step, which is to put the lid on and have the heat back at medium low. Now, you get to play the “wilting” game, check and stir every 3 minutes until greens are at your desired texture.*Note: If you know your bacon is very salty, wait until the end to season after tasting.
You can spoon these out as is as a side dish or you can mix them into pasta dishes, salads, finished soups, pretty much anything. I used mine to accompany some scrambled eggs whites with lots of pepper and Parmesan cheese.
(1) Bunch Swiss Chard
(2) Slices Uncooked Bacon
(2-3) Cloves Garlic
Salt & Pepper
A few tablespoons water or broth
– Chop bacon into small pieces and toss into cold pan, turn to medium-low heat.
– Remove stems from leaves of chard, cut stems to 2″ lengths, and roughly chop leaves
– Once bacon has gotten crispy, toss stems and garlic into pan, cover and cook until soft (check and stir periodically, but should be about 10 minutes).
– Toss leaves in the pot with a pinch of salt & pepper (be sure to account for the saltiness of the bacon) and a tablespoon or two of water/broth (just to help things get moving).
-Cover and check every 3 minutes to stir until greens are desired doneness.
Thank you for taking the time to read this recipe, I would love to hear any thoughts you may have. Remember if you’re not sure you’ll like this you can always order pizza if things don’t go well! -Kristy