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Recipe: Rainbow Chard

Rainbow Chard
With raisins, pine nuts, and serrano ham, Serves 6

The addition of raisins, pine nuts, and dry-cured serrano ham speaks of our fondness for Spanish dishes as well as chard. We use two cooking methods for the chard after separating the stems from the leaves: we blanch the stems and saute the leaves with garlic. The chard can be cooked up to a day ahead and refrigerated, and finishing the dish is just a matter of a quick saute.

2 tablespoons pine nuts
Kosher salt
4 to 5 pounds rainbow chard (Note: If the chard you find has very large stems, buy 5 pounds to get enough greens.)
About 1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 ounce thinly sliced serrano ham, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
2 tablespoons Wine-Steeped Golden Raisins
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Spread the nuts on one of the lined pans and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, until evenly browned. Remove from the oven, transfer to a plate, sprinkle with salt, and let cool.

Cut out the thick stems from the leaves of chard and set aside. Stack the greens in batches and cut crosswise into thirds; set aside. Trim the stems and cut them on the diagonal into 1-inch slices. You need 2 cups stems for this recipe (reserve any remaining chard for another use).

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the chard stems and blanch until tender but still slightly resistant to the tooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and spread on the second parchment-lined baking sheet.

Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil into each of two large saute pans and heat over medium heat (if you have only one large pan, cook the greens in 2 batches). Add 1 tablespoon of the garlic to each pan, reduce the heat, and cook over medium-low heat until softened but not colored, about 1 minute. Add one-quarter of the chard greens to each pan, season with salt (salt lightly if your ham is very salty), and cook for 3 to 5 minutes over medium to medium-low heat, until the chard wilts to about half its original volume. Add the remaining chard and cook until wilted and tender, 15 to 20 minutes total. Spread the greens, with their liquid, on the third lined sheet.

To serve, heat some oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.

Add the ham and saute for about 45 seconds to crisp. Add the pine nuts and raisins and toss. Add the chard stems and greens, toss to combine, and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Wine-steeped Golden Raisins
Makes about 3/4 cup

3/4 cup golden raisin
1/4 star anise
1 whole clove
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

Combine the raisins, star anise, and clove in a jar. Bring the wine to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour over the raisins and let cool to room temperature. Let stand for 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month. Remove the star anise and clove before serving

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