Swiss chard is my favorite dark leafy green, and my favorite way to prepare it is to saute it with a little garlic and bacon, then add a splash of red wine vinegar just before serving to balance the sweet and savory flavors - oh my goodness, it's so darn good! Some people discard the stems, but I think they add a lovely texture to the dish. If you can find rainbow chard, buy it - the color variations make for an even more appetising dish.
Start with beautiful swiss chard leaves.
Carefully cut the stems from the leafy parts.
Don't throw away those stems - we're going to cook them too.
Cut the leafy parts into 3/4-inch thick ribbons.
Cut the stems into 1/2-inch thick pieces.
Saute chopped bacon in a dry pan over medium heat.
Cook the bacon the way you like it. I like it chewy.
Remove the bacon from the pan and reserve until later.
Time to cook garlic and crushed red pepper flakes in the bacon drippings.
Mmmm. Stir them around for 30 seconds....
Then add the chopped stems and water to the pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until the water evaporates. The water serves two purposes - it will keep the garlic from burning, and it will deglaze the pan so all those brown bits from the pan flavor the swiss chard.
Mmmm. Getting hungry yet?
Add the leafy ribbons to the pan and stir for about a minute until the leaves wilt and deepen in color.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the reserved bacon.
And now for the secret ingredient - add a splash of red wine vinegar and give everything a toss. Don't skip this step - it adds something magical and you won't regret it.
Swiss Chard with Bacon and Garlic
makes 2 servings
- 4 stalks swiss chard, washed
- 2 strips thick bacon, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar (or more to taste)
- Prepare swiss chard by separating the tender green leaves from the stems; keeping both parts.
- Slice stems crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices; slice tender leaves crosswise into 3/4-inch thick strips; keep separate.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute the bacon until it reaches your desired level of doneness. I like it to stay a little on the chewy side.
- Lower heat and remove bacon from pan; reserve.
- Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes to the bacon drippings that are leftover in the pan; stir for about 30 seconds, or until you can smell the garlic.
- Immediately add the chopped stems and water to the pan; increase heat back to medium-high and stir frequently until most of the water evaporates.
- Add the sliced leaves to the pan and stir constantly for about a minute until the color deepens and the leaves wilt a little.
- Remove from heat and add the reserved bacon and red wine vinegar; stirring well to combine.
- Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.