Creamed Swiss Chard with Bacon
1 large bunch mixed white and yellow swiss chard
2 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 c. whole milk
salt, pepper, nutmeg
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Cut the center stems from the swiss chard leaves, and slice into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces. Coarsely chop leaves. Add stems to boiling water and boil for 7 minutes. Add leaves and boil for an addition 4-5 minutes. Drain chard, pressing with the back of a spoon to expel as much liquid as possible. Transfer to cutting board and chop into bite size or smaller pieces.
Return emptied pot to the stove and adjust heat to medium high. Add bacon and saute until almost crisp. Add garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add chopped chard and stir to evenly mix. Remove from heat.
In a small saucepan, melt butter and add flour. Mix with a fork break up any chunks and blend until smooth. Once mixture starts bubbling, cook for 2 minutes, then add milk, whisking until smooth. Cook until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Drizzle enough béchamel sauce over the chard mixture so that it is well coated, but not so much that the chard is swimming in sauce. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste, and enjoy!
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These past few weeks have been particularly busy and challenging for me. I changed jobs, spent two weeks in Germany for work, recovered, and am now packing my bags to go again this weekend! Oh yeah, and did I mention that Steven and I are getting ready to move to Europe?! Food has been on the figurative back-burner, and I’ve been subsisting mostly on rye bread, baked beans, horseradish mashed potatoes, and homemade sauerkraut (I promise to post this recipe sometime soon! It’s SO easy, and absolutely delicious!), along with strong coffee and the occasional glass of red wine or two.
But you know, that’s ok with me. I like rye bread with baked beans and sauerkraut as much as the next person (actually, probably a lot MORE than the next person :) ). Sometimes monotonous repetition is just what my mind/body needs — to totally forget about one area in order to focus on another… However, even with putting culinary pursuits on the back burner, I still made my weekly trip to the farmer’s market last weekend, and brought home (among other things) a beautiful bunch of mixed yellow and white swiss chard.
Swiss chard is arguably my favorite green, though lacinto kale is up there too. However, I often find myself in a rut in how I cook chard, typically cut into ribbons, sauteed with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. delicious? as long as you don’t overcook it. simple? yes. kinda boring after a while….? …. certainly…..
So, today I decided to do a chard version of creamed spinach to change things up a bit. Plus, creamed chard seemed to go better with my lunch of — you guessed it — mashed potatoes, rye bread, and sauerkraut. This batch turned out particularly good, so I wanted to share the recipe. Enjoy!