Friday, May 20, 2011

Foodie Friday: Swiss Chard and Raisins

 Photo credit: Michelle Loy. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

At the request of my husband, I have been exploring Swiss chard lately.  As I searched for ways to prepare it, I decided on this recipe, which plays with the sweet and savory flavors that work so well with greens. I also thought it would be one that would appeal to my kids, who can still be skeptical of green veggies.  

When it comes to nutrition, Swiss chard is packed.  It contains a mix of betalains, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  It's also loaded with vitamin A, C, K, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and iron along with fiber and a variety of other nutrients.  

It may seem absolutely insane that I, a Registered Dietitian, would include a recipe with...gasp...bacon in it.  However, I am not afraid of bacon when used in smart ways.  Here are some tips to consider when it comes to bacon.

1)  Select center-cut bacon as it has just a bit more protein and less fat than regular bacon. 
2)  Select bacon that is free of sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, which are known to form potentially carcinogenic compounds.
3)  Choose organic.
4)  Use it as more of a condiment than the center of attention.
5)  Pair it with vegetables.

As for this recipe, I hit the jackpot with my husband.  He loves it.  My kids were a bit more skeptical, but my daughter finally came around and enjoys it with the sweetness of the raisins.  If you haven't tried Swiss chard yet, I think this will be a nice introduction.  Enjoy!

Swiss Chard and Raisins

2 1/2 lbs red Swiss chard (average of about 2 bundles), coarsely chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 sl pancetta or center-cut bacon, chopped
1/4 c raisins
14 oz low-sodium chicken broth or stock
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1)  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the oil, bacon or pancetta, and onion to the skillet and cook until the onions have softened and the bacon is slightly browned.  
2)  Add the chard to the pan in large bunches, putting in more as the chard wilts.  
3)  Toss in the raisins and add the broth and nutmeg.  Bring the liquid to a boil and lower the heat to simmer about 10-15 minutes or until the greens are no longer bitter.  Serve.  

Serves:  6
Nutritional Information:
Calories:  109   Carbohydrate:  14 g   Protein:  6 g   Fat:  5 g  (Saturated:  1 g)  Fiber:  3.5 g   Sugar:  6 g  Sodium:  471 mg   
Excellent source of:  vitamin C, A, E, iron, and magnesium
Good source of:  riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, calcium, and zinc


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