Swiss chard is delicious simply sauteed with olive oil, onion and garlic. You can get fancier by adding raisins and pine nuts to the mix. But because it grows so easily in the garden (or window boxes), you'll eventually want to expand your repertoire.
This recipe is easy to prepare, smells fantastic while it is cooking and stores well in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Its only drawback: The finished dish would not win any beauty contests. Dress it up with yogurt or sour cream, sprigs of cilantro or basil and serve it with warm garlic nan. After one bite, its looks won't matter.
Make Ahead: Like most stews, this tastes even better the next day.
Servings: 8 - 10
- 1 pound Swiss chard, leaves and stems separated and chopped (9 cups total)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large Vidalia onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice (at least 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 5 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 15 ounces canned no-salt chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 1/4 cups dried red lentils, picked over to remove any foreign matter
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water (may substitute vegetable broth)
- 12 large basil leaves, rolled tightly then cut into thin strips (1/4 cup), plus a few sprigs for garnish
- Plain yogurt, for garnish
It is easier to wash the Swiss chard after it has been chopped. Because the stems take longer to cook than the leaves, you must separate the two. Either pull the leaf carefully from the stem or cut the leaf in a V-shape separating the stem from the leaf. Once separated, dice the stems, wash and place in a bowl. Place one leaf on top of the other, and then roll the leaves. Cut through all the leaves; basically you are created skinny, long strips (a chiffonade). Wash, drain well and place in a bowl.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven or large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until it starts to turn golden. Add the garlic, carrots and stems of the Swiss chard; cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often; the vegetables should be crisp-tender.
Add the garam masala, curry powder, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper to taste; stir to incorporate. Add the chickpeas; stir to incorporate. Add the leaves of Swiss chard, the lentils, vegetable broth and water; stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes, stirring often, until the lentils are tender; this will depend on the freshness of the lentils. Add the basil and stir to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
To serve, divide among individual bowls. Garnish each portion with a dollop of plain yogurt and a sprig of basil.
Based on a recipe in the December 2005 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.
Tested by Cynthia A. Brown.
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