Fall is a time to start moving into slightly heavier and warming dishes for those crisp, cooler days, and much cooler nights.
I’m especially fond of white beans aka Navy beans because they are so mild and versatile. They are gentle on the stomach and easily absorb the flavors of herbs and spices, making a lovely backdrop for their flavors. They are also easy and fast to cook.
Swiss Chard was one of those vegetables I never ate until I learned about it in culinary school.
To many, it’s an enigma or a big unknown as to just how to prepare it properly (the same with celery root, but we’ll cover that later). In this dish, it’s just washed and cut up and left to cook in the stew broth, so it doesn’t get any easier. If you simply don’t want to use it or don’t like it, you could substitute kale or another hearty leafy green.
You could make this dish vegetarian with a vegetable stock, or make it as directed here with chicken stock and bacon. I also like using andouille sausage or another mild sausage – like a sweet Italian sausage – if you want to give it a slightly different twist. As with all my dishes, I try to suggest ways you can put your own spin on it, so these adjustments are entirely up to you.
- 1-2 bunch Swiss Chard cleaned and prepped
- 2 Cups Dried Navy Beans
- 4 strips bacon cooked and into small pieces
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1-2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Bayleaf
- 1 Sprig Rosemary
- 6-8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 5 cloves roasted garlic
- The Swiss Chard
- Wash and clean chard thoroughly to remove any dirt.
- Cut out white or colored stems away from leaves and set aside.
- Cut leaves crosswise in 1" widths.
- Cut stems crosswise in 1/2" widths.
- Set aside.
- The Bacon
- Oven roast bacon until golden and crispy, save fat in a jar for other uses.
- Remove and cool on paper towels, pat to absorb fat.
- Cut crosswise in 1/4" wide strips.
- The Beans
- Soak the beans for at least one hour if you wish to reduce cooking time.
- Sautee the onions on low heat with a 1-2 TBS extra virgin olive oil until transparent and soft.
- Cook the beans gently with bay leaf 1-2 hours until soft but not mushy. Use chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water if desired.
- Finalizing the Dish
- Add in bacon, rosemary and Swiss Chard centers and cook 10 mins.
- Add in Swiss Chard leaves and cook 10 more minutes or until tender.
- Final stew should thicken slightly with breakdown of some beans.
- Serve with crostini or garlic toasts.
You can also use kale or another hearty green if you like.