Sunday, November 2, 2008

Eat Your Veggies - Part 1 - Rainbow Chard

It's time for Veggie Mania here at Over Cocktails. Over the next few weeks I will showcase different vegetables, sharing health benefits along with one of my favorite recipes for each one. It's always good to have a stockpile of veggie recipes so you can compliment your main course with the perfect side dish. And if you're anything like me, you don't eat nearly enough so this will help us all think about them a bit more as we hunker down for the winter months.
Let's kick off Veggie Mania with Rainbow Chard. When "they say" eat your leafy greens, this is one of the ones they're talking about. It is one of the heavy hitters in the nutrient department. It's not a mainstream veggie though like broccoli, beans, and carrots, so a lot of people don't cook it. I know Rainbow Chard never made contact with my mouth until my 30's. My mom never fixed it growing up so it was one of those things I avoided because surely it couldn't taste good. Well I was wrong. When prepared properly, it is quite tasty.
I've always pronounced it chard with a "ch" but wondered if maybe it was more of a "sh" sound. Well I checked it out and it is in fact, \ˈchärd\ . Usually I am the one who pronounces stuff wrong so I was pleased to see I finally got one right.

Some health benefits:
  • excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, vitamin E and dietary fiber
  • good source of copper, calcium, vitamin B2, vitamin B6 and protein
  • good source of phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, folate, biotin, niacin and pantothenic acid
  • promotes bone, lung, and heart health
  • supports the immune system
  • shown to reduce or prevent some digestive cancers

Check out the website The World's Healthiest Foods for more details.

Featured Recipe:

Sauteed Rainbow Chard
Yours Truly

One large bunch rainbow chard
4 or 5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/8 t red chili flakes
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1-2 T olive oil
1 T butter (optional)
1/4 cup chicken stock

Remove stems from chard. Cut up leaves and stems into large chunks but keep them separate. Rinse well. Heat olive oil over high heat. Throw garlic in and toss in oil for a few minutes. Lower heat to medium and just as some pieces are starting to brown on the edges, throw in the rainbow chard stems and toss for a few minutes. Then add the chard leaves and saute for a few minutes. Add butter if using. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and red chili flakes. Saute for five more minutes. Add chicken stock, lower heat to a simmer, cover with lid 90% of the way and steam for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Make sure chard is fully cooked and serve.

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