Rainbow Swiss Chard with Rum Raisins and Toasted Almonds

Chard, with raisins and nuts might sound a bit odd, but it is a traditional combination. Mirielle Johnston’s Cusine of the Sun: Classical French Cooking from Nice and Provence gives a a recipe for Tourte de Blettes, a pie which combines spinach or Swiss chard with rum raisins, pine nuts and apples (if you want to see a variation on this particular recipe, take a look here at Saveur). This is served as dessert!

Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now has a recipe for red Swiss Chard with golden raisins and pine nuts which is meant to be a side dish. Here is what you do: in a very large skillet or big pot, heat sliced garlic with oil just until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 second. Add handfuls of sliced Swiss chard and cook down until wilted, add salt and pepper, plus some golden raisins that have been soaked in rum, plus some toasted pine nuts.

The original recipe calls for heating golden raisins with rum to plump the raisins. I went with regular raisins and I soaked them overnight to hydrate them. Instead of pine nuts, I used toasted almond slivers. I made a small batch because I only used one bunch of chard. It looked like a nice amount raw, but it really cooked down a lot.

Melissa Clark’s recipe (which serves 8) calls for four bunches of chard, 3/4 cup golden raisins, 4 Tbl. rum, 2/3 cup toasted pine nuts, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, 3/4 tsp. kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. I didn’t measure my oil, salt or pepper. Actually, I eyeballed most of the ingredients and it was fine. More than fine.

Oh, one more thing. Melissa Clark’s recipe tells you to discard the center ribs from the leaves. Instead, I slices the center ribs/stems thinly and added them to the pot.

Melissa Clark notes that this will work with any kind of green and you can substitute other liquids for the rum.

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