With the New Year upon us I am certain that your inbox is flooded with dozens upon dozens of emails and articles about New Year’s resolutions, or of course my favorite concept, “New Year, New You!” I laugh as I click open each new article and or email, always wondering if THIS is going to be the one that changes my life. Is this going to be the article that inspires me to phase Christmas Cookies from my diet before February 1? Perhaps this WILL be the January that I am motivated to get up at 5 AM to start doing lunges and planks in my living room when it’s 0°F outside! Well, it is the middle of January already and I have not taken on any life changing new habits – yet – but, I am making a solid effort to eat my veggies, and make them delicious while doing so!
My recipe for Greek Style Oven Braised Swiss Chard is one of my favorites. Look at how fresh and delicious it looks before it gets wrapped up to go in the oven!
This recipe is a winner for so many reasons. It is super hands off after the initial ingredient prep. It gets baked in the oven so it warms up your whole house while it’s cooking. Plus, witnessing the magic of the chard turning into a melt in your mouth side dish with loads of flavor and only a few super basic ingredients is oh so very satisfying!
This recipe very much reflects how Greeks like their veggies. The chard is braised until it is very soft, Greeks like their vegetables to totally fall apart and to be boldly coated in olive oil. The result is a rich and robust side dish that will have you wondering, what the heck did you do to make these few ingredients taste so awesome?!
Once you have taken your chard out of the oven you can serve it right away, or set it aside for later. A lot of Greek dishes are eaten at room temperature and are very tasty that way, and this dish is no exception.
The options for serving this are endless. It is a perfect side to serve with a flaky baked fish for a simple week night supper. Or, perhaps you want to pile it on top of a mound of quinoa or rice along with the some crumbled feta and chopped almonds for a tasty weekday Mediterranean style lunch bowl. However, my all time favorite way of eating this is 100% on it’s own, with a giant chunk of crusty bread – sourdough preferred. Once I have eaten all of my vegetables I love to dip my bread into the rich olive oil and braising liquid that has settled in the pan. Wow! It. Is. So. Good. Like, makes you wonder how just a few vegetables with salt, pepper and olive oil could be so delicious.
So, as you can see, I may not be the BEST at New Year’s resolutions, as witnessed by my encouraging you gorge on a loaf of bread while feeling good about eating your veggies. But, hey! You are eating some super delicious veggies and that counts for major points in my book!
Greek Style Oven Braised Swiss Chard
6 – 8 Large Chard Leaves, about 6 cups of packed chard ribbons
2 Yellow Onions
2 Cloves of Garlic
3 Large Tomatoes
1 Cup Good Olive Oil, separated
1 or 2 pinches or Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons Salt, separated
½ teaspoon Black Pepper
¼ Cup Water
Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. While oven is preheating prepare the ingredients.
First wash the chard and remove the very thick stem at the bottom. Next, fold the leaves in half and slice the chard into 1” sized ribbons. Do NOT worry about removing the center rib of the chard, it will soften up during the cooking process perfectly! Next, prepare the onions by slicing them each in half and then slice each half into thin half-moons. Next, slice the garlic cloves into thin rounds. And last, prepare the tomatoes by removing the core, the seeds and the liquid on the inside, then rough chop them into about 1” sized pieces. Once all of the vegetables have been prepared you can begin to assemble the dish.
Using a 9 X 13 baking dish add the ingredients in layers. First, spread half of the onions, half of the garlic and 1/3 of the chopped tomatoes all over the bottom of the baking dish and then sprinkle them with a ½ teaspoon of salt and a ¼ cup of olive oil. Next, pile the chard ribbons over the onions, garlic and tomatoes and pack them into the dish. Next spread the remaining onions and garlic all over the chard and then spread the remaining tomatoes all over the onions and garlic, and last, evenly sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the vegetables in this order: crushed red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, water and olive oil. Once all of the ingredients have been added tightly cover the entire dish with tin foil and place it in the center of the oven for 1 hour.
After one hour, remove the tin foil from the baking dish and turn the temperature of the oven up to 425⁰F. Continue to bake the casserole in the oven for another 30 minutes. The water will begin to cook out and the top of the vegetables will begin to turn a little bit dark and crispy.
After 30 minutes remove the baking dish from the oven. It can be served right away or you may reheat it later or serve it at room temperature – that’s what the Greeks would do.
This side dish begs to be served with crusty bread to soak up the olive oil based braising liquid, and it is a perfect side to serve with chicken or fish.
This makes 4 – 6 servings
You can use any kind of greens that you like here. If Swiss Chard isn’t your thing, use Kale! You can even try it with cabbage! Whatever you have on hand will be delicious!