Tag Archives: Chard

June Veg of the Month: Swiss Chard

As my veggie patch, or potager as they’re known here in France, is coming into its full glorified bloom and all my hard work’s paying off with a freebie larder of veritable goodies, I’ve decided to start something new on the blog, A Veg of the Month round up. Each month I’ll be choosing my most prolific in season veggie and blogging all the ways I’ve used and cooked with it, and asking readers to contribute their own recipes and ideas. This month I’ve chosen the humble yet magnificent Swiss Chard, not the most obvious choice for a June veggie I know, but along with the more popular spinach it’s been one of the first abundant veggie’s of the season at Chez Foti.

It’s a fabulously easy veg to grow, readily germinates, takes up relatively little space, seems to require little or no additional watering, grows quickly and profusely with individual plants lasting up to a staggering 18 months (and mine have) and is pretty darned hardy to boot!

Interestingly it’s been a veggie generally unknown to most folk, myself included, apart from the allotmenteers and grow their owners, until the recent advent in popularity of the organic veg box schemes. Being such an easy crop to grow it’s no wonder it’s became a regular feature of the boxes. Chard is also a particularly heathy green leafy veg having high levels of vitamins A, K and C, and rich in minerals, dietary fibre and protein.

Freshly picked chard and the first potatoes of the year

Not only is it my wonder veg to grow it’s fabulously versatile in the kitchen too, and can be used a lot like spinach. The leaves can be picked young and small and eaten whole and raw in salads (which admittedly I have yet to do, as they seem to grow so quickly here!). Or they can be left to mature and the leaves separated from the stems. The stems are a little like celery and require slicing and cooking for a few minutes longer than the green leaves which are pretty much the same as spinach (though with a wee bit more oomph in the flavour department).

As a veggie side chard is great sautéed for a few brief minutes in garlic and plenty of olive oil, adding a wee squeeze of lemon and a generous pinch of salt and black pepper at the end. Throwing in a tinned anchovy or two with the garlic and/or a finely sliced chilli works a treat; chard takes particularly well to strong salty flavours.

Last week I made a delightful Chard & Broad Bean risotto (using my recipe for Lemon, Pea & Asparagus Risotto but switching the veggies). Earlier in the month I made Ewan Mitchell’s Pasta with Chard which provided us a very tasty mid-week supper in minutes.

A very successful mid-week supper of Pasta & Chard

And I spiced it up in a wonderful Chochori, a Chard and Potato Curry courtesy of Nisha Katona’s Curry in a Hurry video. I’ve also added it shredded (at the last minute) to Frugal Feeding’s fabulously aromatic Slow Cooked Beef Curry and my own Prawn Thai Green Curry (recipe to follow).

A wonderfully spiced Swiss Chard & Potato Curry

I’ve been adding Chard a plenty to my Chicken, Egg and Veggie Fried Rice or more often than not ditching the meat for a vegetarian freebie alternative (which the kids adore equally), throwing bundles of it into Pork & Noodle Stir Fries (and again various meat free versions), Kids Bolognese and Super-Vegged up Chillies. It’s also been a welcome green in many a soup, including my Cream of Veggie Souper Soup and Caldo Verde (Portuguese Greens Soup) and blitzed into a super nutritious Kids 5-a-day Pasta Sauce.

Noodles with Pork & Veggies

So that’s it for my first ever Veg of the Month Round-Up. Feel free to join me in my celebration of the Chard Wonder Veg with your comments, ideas or recipes! I think we’ll be having chard in surplus supply for a good while yet so I’m looking forward to trying out some new ideas.

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Chochori, Swiss Chard & Potato Curry

Bigger Kids, Grown Ups

We seem to have been eating quite a bit of meat lately, at least on the cyber world of the blog we do anyway, and I thought it time for a few more veggie dinners especially as my veg patch is busily coming into its own. This was one of our first ‘free’ dinners of the year with the two main ingredients, swiss chard and potatoes, both being picked and dug fresh from the garden minutes before. In fact these were our first potatoes of the year, and I can think of no better dish right now to celebrate them more than this fabulous curry. It still gives me a buzz to eat things I’ve grown myself and I’m convinced they always taste just that little bit more amazing. And it goes without saying they’re naturally all 100% organic.

The recipe, at least in the main, came from the lovely Nisha Katona of Curry in a a Hurry and her maa. Weirdly enough I was thinking of making a chard curry when would you adam and eve it, up popped a tweet from Nisha about her maa’s chard curry video. I watched, laughed (her maa’s a star!), absorbed and set to to make my own using all the same spices but guessing on quantities. So my apologies now to you both if I’m way out but the resulting curry was no less than wonderful in my opinion. And further apologies to maa that I didn’t use mooli, there’s no way I’d be able to source it in rural and notably un-multicural rural France! The spices I was lucky enough to have in, and I could even make by own fabulously fragrant Indian 5 spice seed mix called Panch Phoron (equal quantities of fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds and celery seeds, the latter added to replace the traditionally included black mustard seeds that I didn’t have).

Indian 5 spice seeds, Panch Phoron

I’m thinking you could happily use any veggies in this curry substituting part or all of the chard or spinach, but I was on a mission to use up as much chard as I could in one dinner so kept it simple. Great as a very healthy main served with steamed rice and/or chapattis or as a side accompanying other dishes.

Enough for four as a main or lots more as a veggie side:

4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
3 heaped teaspoons of Indian 5 Spice seed mix, Panch Poran
an onion, finely diced
500g of potatoes, new or old, roughly chunked (I left the peel on mine)
2 whole dried chillies (I used birds eyes)
700g of Swiss chard, spinach or other veggies (including mooli if you can source)
a heaped teaspoon of turmeric
½ a teaspoon of dried chilli powder
a generous pinch of salt
a heaped teaspoon of English mustard powder thinned down in a tablespoon of water

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and throw in the 5 spice. Cook for a couple of minutes or so until you can really smell the spices, but not so much the spices blacken.

Tip in the onion, potatoes (and any other slow to cook veggies you may be using) and whole dried chillies. Cover and cook for about ten minutes until almost soft, stirring regularly so nothing catches, and adding a splash of water rather than more oil if the pan dries out.

Meanwhile prepare your chard or spinach. If using chard tear any thick stems from the leaves, slice the stems and shred the leaves, keeping both separate. Shred the spinach.

Throw in the chard stems to the curry and cook for a few minutes. When the potatoes and chard are soft and cooked through add the chilli powder, turmeric, salt and shredded chard leaves or spinach. Cook for a moment or two longer until the leaves are wilted then take off the heat. Season with the thinned down mustard and a little more salt to taste.

Serve with steamed rice and/or chapatties, lovely with a little homemade mango chutney on the side.

How about trying some of my other curry recipes: Aloo Gobi Kaddu (Potato, Cauliflower & Pumpkin), Beetroot, Spinach & Chick Peas, Jamie’s Empire Chicken & Bombay Potatoes, Sweet Potato Daal for Babies & Toddlers

Be sure to check out some of Nisha’s excellent home curry making videos, a great way to quickly and easily learn how to cook authentic indian fodder.


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