Are you desperate to get your children to eat vegetables? In puree, soup, pie or gratin, all means are good! In this article, we propose to (re)discover the chard, a seasonal vegetable with edible leaves and stems that’s a little forgotten, but which has many health benefits. We tell you all about chard, with a recipe!
A bit of history
Chard (or Swiss chard) is a member of the Chenopodiaceae family, like spinach, quinoa and beets. The first chard was harvested in the Mediterranean basin in ancient times. Its consumption in France dates back to the Middle Ages in soups accompanied by leeks. The emperor Charlemagne was apparently fond of it! Very fashionable until the 19th century, its consumption decreased in the last century but, in recent years, chard has made a strong comeback. Why is it so popular? Read on!
The many health benefits of chard
There's no age limit to eating chard! From 7 to 77 years old, your health will thank you for many reasons! First of all, it is one of the least caloric vegetables (less than 15 kcal per 100 g). Rich in minerals (potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium), chard also contains a lot of fiber, which facilitates transit. Moreover, its antioxidants (vitamin C and beta-carotene) present in the green leaves, slow down cellular ageing. We could write a thesis on the benefits of chard since it is also said to have properties that limit the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. As you can see, its virtues are so numerous that you would be wrong to deprive yourself of it!
A chard on your plate from April to November
The peak season for spinach's cousin is between June and November, but it is possible to enjoy chard as early as April by buying from growers in the south of France. If you can't do without them the rest of the year, the freezing option is just fine. Everything in chard is consumed (except the roots), both the ribs (stems) and the leaves. When choosing your chard from your local grower, look for chard with firm, white ribs and dark, untorn leaves. Have you chosen the best chard? Now it's time to prepare them in the kitchen!
How to cook chard in a simple way
Chard is a great treat for young and old alike. So why deprive yourself? Especially since you don't have to be a master chef to prepare them! It is generally quite easy and quick. After removing the roots, rinse the chard with water, removing any soil residue. Let them dry, then separate the leaves from the ribs (the stems): the time and the cooking method (steam, boiling water, frying pan, microwave...) being not the same for both parts and according to the recipe you want to make.
As for the rhubarb stems, don't hesitate to remove the filaments from the ribs, your tasting will be even more delicious. And then, treat yourself! Gratins, fritters, pies, pies, with cream, with butter, in a risotto, in spaghetti... Chard can be eaten with all kinds of sauces!
Our home-made recipe: Chard & Cheese Gratin
A recipe for small budgets, which will delight the taste buds of your children and vegetarian friends ?... We have just what you need : Campanile's Chard & Cheese Gratin recipe. Ready to start? We'll explain it all to you!
For this family recipe (4 people), you will need :
1 kg of chard
100 g Panko breadcrumbs
40 g grated Emmenthal cheese*.
0.5 l milk
40 g flour
40 g butter
100 g grated Emmenthal cheese*, grated
1 ml nutmeg
Preparation time: 25 minutes.
For the mornay sauce:
Heat the milk in a saucepan.
Prepare a roux: melt the butter over low heat, add the flour all at once, mixing it quickly with the butter with a spatula, cook for a few minutes, without letting the mixture color.
Remove the pan from the heat, let the roux cool. Add the hot milk little by little, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
Return the pan to medium heat, and cook the sauce for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly
Add the egg, then add the Emmental cheese and stir over low heat until the cheese is melted
Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper
For the chards:
Separate leaves from ribs
Peel the ribs and cut them into 3 cm pieces
Cook them in boiling salted water until the ribs are almost done (the tip of a knife can easily go through them)
Add the ribs to the sauce and pour into a casserole dish
Cover with grated cheese and bake for 20 minutes at 180°C.
In only 45 minutes (preparation + cooking), your dish is ready. The chard and cheese mixture is sure to be a hit! Have a great time with your family!
Gourmet tip: You can replace Emmental with young or old Cantal or Comté cheese for a more pronounced flavour, or choose a cheese from your region.