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Cider-Braised Swiss Chard with Apples

October 22, 2010

If this isn’t the most “fall-y” dish ever made, I don’t know what is. It’s got colorful greens (rainbow chard is my favorite kind), crunchy apples and to top it all off, my favorite fall drink, apple cider. I got the recipe from a farmer’s market in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and waited a week to make it. My mistake, as this is exactly the kind of healthy fall eating I needed after a week of rich frittatas and a cake to come later (ooh … intrigue).

As yummy as the swiss chard is, the actual cooking did not go as easily as planned. The recipe didn’t specify which type of apple to use, so I went with Suncrisps from Samascott Orchards. They perhaps were a little too juicy for this dish, so I’d recommend a more traditional cooking apple, like a Jonathan or a Golden Delicious. Maybe I braised my chard for too long or was too impatient to wait for the liquid to cook off, but after 20 minutes of waiting, there were still puddles of liquid. My chard was already well cooked at this point and the apples were perfectly soft, so I just took them out of the skillet. I’m not sure if it was the extra apples (I doubled the recipe’s amount) or the type of apple or what, but if you see that your veggies look done but there’s still liquid, just remove the veggies (a slotted spoon works great here) and toss the remaining water.

Oddly enough, the recipe didn’t call for seasoning at any point. I added some salt and pepper after the braise, when I could stir it evenly into the chard. I’m sure some cinnamon and nutmeg would complement the flavors of the cider and the apples nicely. A little crushed red pepper would also be welcome, as it would cut some of the sugariness.

The final product is sweet, earthy, crunchy and delicious. I had it for lunch yesterday and I’m looking forward to having it for lunch again today. Though I wasn’t much of a greens-eater before, this dish may have converted me.

– 1 small onion, chopped (the recipe calls for 1 cup, but I only had a small one)

– 2 cups apples, peeled and diced (I used Suncrisp, but Jonathan or Golden Delicious might work better — I also doubled the recipe’s suggestion; it only calls for 1 cup)

– 1 bunch chard, rinsed and chopped (I left the stalks in, cutting them into small pieces — they add a nice crunch)

– 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

– 1 cup apple cider

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– salt and pepper, to taste

1) Heat the oil up in a large skillet and add the onions. Cook on low heat until the onions are translucent.

2) Increase the heat to medium. Add the apples, tossing them around to coat them completely in the fat.

3) Mix in the chard and stir a few times to make sure everything is well incorporated. Then add the cider and vinegar and cover, cooking until the leaves are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

4) Remove the cover and increase the heat to high. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let the water boil off and evaporate, stirring constantly. (Like I said above, the liquid never evaporated for me, so I just pulled mine out after about 20 minutes, when the apples were tender and the chard was wilted.)

Note: The recipe called for bacon as well, but I was out of bacon — and a little bacon-ed out. If you’d like a little pork in your dish, simply cook the bacon first until it is crispy and has rendered off all of its fat. Then remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Add the onions and follow the recipe from there.

Also, any type of green would work. I just happen to like swiss chard.

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