Monday, March 21, 2011

Ruby Chard with pears, red onion and balsamic reduction sauce

       Ruby chard is definitely a new favorite of mine. Perhaps two recipes with chard in a week are a bit  much but I just wanted to share this as it would be a nice side dish for the Mac and cheese.
I played around a bit with the basic recipe I use for sautéed greens. I cooked the stalks this time, which I don’t usually do. The red stalks add a lot visually to the recipe and they keep their color since they are cooked separately. They also are full of flavor and nutritional value. I will admit that the flavor can sometimes be a little bitter, which is why I decided to add a pear to this version of sautéed ruby chard. Plus, I had several ripe pears around waiting to be eaten. The pear was a superb addition, adding a hint of sweetness and subtle undertones.
Speaking of nutrition, chard is a powerhouse. It is a rich source of vitamins K, C, and A and minerals like copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. It is a good source of phytonutrients, B vitamins, protein and fiber while being low in calories. Can you see why I like serving it at my table? But it is not just the nutrition, it is the taste!!
Give this dish a try. It had everyone here raving! Just remember, even though the stalks give you slightly more volume, one bunch of chard can only serve about four people. If you have a bigger group, double this recipe.

   Ruby Chard with pears, red onion  and balsamic reduction sauce
Ruby chard- 1 large bunch, stalks and leaves
1 small or ½ large red onion
2 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
½ tsp onion powder, pinch of red pepper
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
2 more tsp. olive oil
One ripe pear
Salt and pepper to taste

Thoroughly wash ruby chard. Trim the ends of the stalks and use sharp knife to cut along stems and pulling to remove. Finely slice stalks. Thinly sliced, cut up red onion. Pour 2 tsp. olive oil into large pan and add onions and stalks. Cook over medium heat for 6 minutes then add clove of garlic, pinch of red pepper flakes and onion powder and cook about 2 more minutes or until onion is translucent and stalk pieces are softened.

Remove stalks, onion to bowl and heat balsamic vinegar and sugar, cooking  on med-low for 4-5 minutes until slightly reduced and thickening. Meanwhile cut leaves into smaller pieces and peel and dice pear. Pour balsamic reduction over stalk mix in bowl. Add another 2 tsp olive oil to the pan. Add leaves and pears. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or so until wilted and soft. Re add the stalks and all liquid into the leaves and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.


  1. congrats on the new blog !

    I've only had chard once. Bit of an aquired taste. Was meaning to grow some this year, but my veg garden down the field is really grown over and I don't think I've got enough time to pull it into shape and plant this summer..

  2. Thank you, Sarah-Jane. I have a lot to learn. Thank you for following my blog all the way from the UK :-) I have been there a few times.

    I was not too fond of chard for a long time after eating it once. However, this year, it was often in the box I received weekly from our local organic farm so I began cooking it different ways and found several I enjoy greatly.
    Including the stems does intensify the flavor, which is why I was looking for something sweet to add-- hence, the pears.
    Chard is pretty much a staple in our market here in Colorado but I am not sure how common it is in other states or the UK. Is it rare to find it at the local grocer for you all?

  3. My favorite color is green, but this red looks just strikingly beautiful. Cannot wait for the farmers markets to open up and start picking up some fresh veggies.

  4. Well there is still quite a bit of green here and the red contrasts nicely :-) Yes, I am so looking forward to spring!! I heard they planted spinach today at our local farm... soon!

  5. I'm enjoying your new blog! This recipe sounds delicious and is so beautiful with all of the different colors. Perfect dish for spring!

  6. Thanks so much, Ryan! That's very encouraging. I am still pretty low on the learning curve with the blogging thing so any suggestions are appreciated.

  7. as an art major, i appreciate the color o this I just have to try it! Make it again sometime when I can come?

  8. I will make it any time! The color really is a delight to the eyes. I think cooking the stems separately makes the color really pop.

  9. I've never cooked with chard. I've only really started eating vegetables in the last year or so. But life's an adventure, right?! Now I've got to see if they even carry it in our grocery stores :)

    Beautiful dish! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I am all about helping people enjoy vegetables! Chard is still in stores here but we are much cooler and I think it likes cool weather. But do me a favor? While you are at the store, make a note of the vegetables in season there that you would like to try a new recipe using them. Send it to me and I will see if I have any recipes that you might like!