How to prepare Swiss Chard

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Like any green, leafy vegetable, Swiss chard requires a good rinse before it is trimmed. I like to dunk chard in a deep bowl of cold water, swish it around, pull it back out and do the same again in a fresh bowl of water. Then pat it dry gently with a clean kitchen towel.

To trim the green leafy-ness from the stalk, lay the leaf flat on your work surface. Cut the stalk out by outlining it with the point of your long, sharp chef’s knife. Cut the two strips apart where they are connected, then cut those strips into four strips lengthwise. The goal here is to make pieces of about 1” for our soup. Once all of the stalks have been trimmed away and you have a pile of long leafy strips, line those up with your guiding hand and curl your fingertips of that hand (“the claw”) so you don’t cut them. Then slice away 1” pieces.

Swiss Chard stalks are beautiful, and edible—even though we aren’t using them in our soup this week, you can sauté them with olive oil and garlic, with onions or leeks, and enjoy a plate of flavorful good-for-you. You’re going to feel so righteous after eating your chard, and even more so after eating bowl classic Lebanese lentil soup tomorrow, chock full of chard and other deeply satisfying flavors.

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  1. Donna Myers says:

    Maureen, I made this recipe tonight for my dinner. When it came to adding the Swiss Chard to the lentils, I hesitated due to a question I had of the amount of water left in the pot from cooking the lentils. I reread the directions twice. Did I miss the word drained somewhere. The result was a watery looking soup comparing it to your photo. Can you make a suggestion what I should have done.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Donna–the 4 cups of water here is the correct amount for the quantity of lentils and then the soup. If you like your soup thicker, you can reduce the liquid, or increase the lentils!

  2. Antonia Allegra says:

    Two standard Ligurian uses of green (Swiss) chard from my childhood: Use the leafy part for many recipes, I’m sure similar to yours, Maureen. But it’s the white stems (perhaps the rainbow stems, too) that see oven action:
    Par-boil the stems til just tender. Then melt butter in a baking dish to accommodate the stems in one flat row.
    Top the stems with more butter (as I said, this is from decades ago!) and sprinkle heavily with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake in a hot oven, avout 375 degrees F. Bake until the cheese has browned and the butter is bubbling. Simple, rich in flavor and the best use of chard stems I know.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      That sounds super delicious, Toni. I will be making it asap!!! Thanks so much for sharing your family recipe with us!

  3. Rina THoma says:

    I was planning on making lentil soup for my Uncle this weekend:))) I can’t wait for your recipe:)))) XOXO

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Great minds think alike, Rini!! I suppose that means you have a special visitor (the one who encouraged Germany?…). Have a great time!!