I have often seen school gardens with vibrant, beautiful chard leaves left to wither. How sad! Chard belongs to the same family as Spinach (Amaranthaceae), does not have a chalky taste, and can often be used in spinach recipes. This recipe (an adaptation of one of the many variants of Boston Market Creamed Spinach) can be modified in many different ways, including as a creamy sauce over baked chicken or pork, sprinkled with buttered bread crumbs!
- Fresh chard leaves from garden, about 1 very large bowl (about 1.5 gal/6 litre capacity). I don’t use stems but these can be set aside for a stir fry meal.
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1.5 – 2 cups chicken broth, milk or a mixture of both
- 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese (Parmesan, Romano, Gruyere also do fine)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (I use mild-tasting non-virgin)
- 2-4 cloves garlic – minced
- 1 medium onion – diced
There are 3 parts in preparing the meal:
- Harvest a very large bowl of chard leaves and steam till cooked but not overdone. Overcooked chard or spinach is yech, so it’s best to undercook. You just want the leaves to soften. You should end up with at least 2 cups of chard. Let drain and cool. Chop them up in large chunks so they’ll be easy to mix in with the sauce.
- Make a roux: Melt ~6 tablespoons of butter. Add ~3 tablespoons of flour. Mix well. Then add 1.5 – 2 cups of chicken broth or milk or a mixture of both. Mix well till smooth. Then add about 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese (Parmesan, Romano, Gruyere also do fine). The consistency should not be too thick/heavy or too watery.
- In a separate pan, heat about 4 tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, add minced garlic and diced onions till golden or caramelized. Add the chard and saute about 3-5 minutes. Slowly add the roux and mix well. Taste before seasoning with any additional salt. Add spices like pepper and nutmeg to taste.