Saturday, August 23, 2008

Braised Silverbeet Stalks

Srivalli from Cooking 4 All Seasons is the host of this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I have a vegetable that is known by many names - for Italians, Bietole, Americans call it Chard and we know it here as Silverbeet.

silverbeet© by Haalo

Silverbeet contains Vitamins A, B6, B12, C E and K, Folate, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Riblofavin and Thiamin as well as Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium and Zinc.

This plant is still a staple in my mother's garden - a must have ingredient for her ravioli. While the leaves are plundered for the filling, the stalks are certainly not forgotten. They are transforming into a tasty side dish - a simple braise of onions and tomatoes with a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano at the finish.

braised silverbeet stalks© by haalo

Braised Silverbeet Stalks

Silverbeet stalks
1 onion, finely sliced
440 gram can crushed tomatoes, use fresh if in season
salt and white pepper
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Prepare the stalks:
This recipe is enough for one or two standard bunches of silverbeet.

Remove the green leaf from the stalk - and then cut the stalk across at the point where the leave ends. This will give you a narrow v-shaped stalk where the leaf was and a rectangular section of stalk.

Trim the ends off the base section and then, if the stalks are extra thick, run your knife or a peeler down the curved edge of the stalk to remove any a fine stringy layer. It's a bit like prepared rhubarb but only necessary if the stalks are older or really thick.

You can then cut them into finger sized lengths or leave them at their full size. You can also cut them in half lengthways for extra wide stalks. The whole idea is to standardise the size so that they will cook evenly.


Cook the dish:
Heat a little oil and a knob of butter in a large skillet over a medium-low heat and when the butter has melted and beginning to sizzle, add the onion.

Cook gently until the onion softens and has started to colour. Add the crushed tomatoes and half a cans worth of water and allow the mixture to simmer and reduce for about 10 minutes.

Add in the stalks, stirring them through the mixture and add enough water to just cover them. Simmer, uncovered until the stalks soften and the liquid reduces. You should end up with a rich thick sauce that clings to the tender stalk

Taste and season with salt and finely ground white pepper as necessary.

Tumble it out onto a serving plate and sprinkle over with grated Parmigiano - serve extra Parmigiano to the side.

braised silverbeet stalks© by Haalo

Considering it is an ingredient that, more often than not, would end up in the bin or in the compost, this dish really turns nothing into something special.


More dishes using Silverbeet/Chard:

Baked Eggs with Silverbeet
Minestrone
Rainbow Chard and Ricotta Filo Roll
Rainbow Chard and Ricotta Stuffed Chicken
Silverbeet and Parmesan Soufflé

9 comments:

  1. Brilliant! I use chard in lasagna, too (here's a picture of one version), and I usually just sautee the stems and eat with them with pasta. I'll try braising them next time. Soon, probably; I've got some monster stalks in my garden. Thanks for the idea!

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  2. this is a great way to use the stalks. i usually (gulp) throw them away.

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  3. thanks for making me think again about my silverbeet stalks - I often throw them away because I often treat the plant like a spinach substitute which means I focus on the leaves - next time must remember this great idea

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  4. What a lovely entry!..thank you so much!

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  5. I love this idea. I have a recipe that uses the chard stems with butter (or olive oil) and parmesan, but this looks much more nutritious and just as delicious! My garden is bursting with this right now.

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  6. Thanks Kitt - that's a lovely lasagna too!

    Thanks Anna - I must admit I don't always cook mine either

    Thanks Johanna - the stalks are quite good and if you pick them young you can slice them finely and just quickly saute them, a bit like asparagus spears

    Thanks for hosting Srivalli!

    Thanks Kalyn - it's something you can do ahead of time in volume and re-heats really well.

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  7. I haven't started getting mine yet, but i will be saving your recipe as it will come in very handy indeed.

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  8. THis looks so delicious. From the look of it in that first gorgeous photo I would say it is known as Swiss Chard where I live. Have never thought to use the stalks like this tho. Lovely :)

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  9. Hope you enjoy it Valentina!

    Thanks CW - it's a veg of many names.

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