Thursday, September 24, 2009

White Bean, Bacon and Swiss Chard Casserole

Rainbow Swiss chard was at the farmer's market last week --- The colors are lovely --the veins are either yellow, pink or red --- it almost looks like rhubarb.It's a hardier version of spinach. The trick is to cook it long enough. If you don't it will be like chewing on paper. The stalks are also very good (and good for you) if you cook them long enough, too.

Swiss chard is often sauteed with garlic and served as a side, but when combined with bacon and white beans it becomes a hearty meal on it's own.

White Bean, Bacon, and Swiss Chard Casserole
large bunch of rainbow Swiss chard
4 slices of bacon
2 cans of white beans (cannellini), well-drained
salt and freshly ground pepper

Wash the Swiss chard, tear off the leaves, then chop the stalks into 1 inch lengths.

Bring a pot of water to a vigorous boil. Add the stalks and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the leaves. After 6 minutes, pull one out to taste it. If needed, cook a little longer. Could be up to 12 minutes in total to get the stalks and the leaves to be cooked, but not over cooked.

Drain well and set aside while you cook the bacon. I used the same pan that I boiled the Swiss chard in.

Cut the bacon into bite size piece and cook until well browned. Drain all but 2 T. of the bacon fat. Add a large tablespoon of garlic but don't let it burn.

Add two cans of well-drained white beans. I like Cannellini beans, but you could use anything.

Return the Swiss chard to the pot, and mix it all together until uniformly hot. Be sure to add lots of salt (the beans need salt) and freshly ground pepper.

Here's how it looks when turned out into a casserole. It was great on it's own, but it would also be nice companion to a grilled item, like a pork chop.

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