Chard with Butternut Squash

Fall veggies are so yummy! When your grocery store or CSA box is full of greens and winter squash like mine has been, here’s a simple and hearty recipe which puts almost all the flavors of fall on your plate. I make this with bacon, but if you prefer a vegetarian version omit the bacon and increase the olive oil to 2 Tbsp. It will be equally delicious with kale, but feel free to leave out the stems if they are too woody.

Candied pecans are available at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market. If you don’t have them, coarsely chop 1/4 cup of pecans and toast them for about 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Toasted hazelnuts, almonds, or walnuts would be suitable substitutes as well. You’ll know they’re done when they are slightly brown and begin to smell like roasting nuts. These won’t add quite as much sweetness as the candied nuts, but will still be delicious.

This recipe serves six as a side dish, or two hungry people as a main course. Total preparation and cooking time is about 50 -60 minutes depending on how quickly you chop stuff.

1 onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large bunch Swiss chard
4 slices of thick cut uncured bacon
1 small butternut squash (about 1 lb)
Salt to taste (about ¼ to ½ tsp)
2 Tbsp dried cranberries
¼ c candied pecans, coarsely chopped

1) Prepare the vegetables:

  • Coarsely chop the onion.
  • Cut the stems from the Swiss chard, chop them coarsely.
  • Quarter the chard leaves, and then chop coarsely.
  • Peel and seed the squash (a vegetable peeler works great on butternuts!), then dice it into pieces about ½ inch square.
  • Chop the bacon into ½ inch pieces.

2) Warm the olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat.

3) Add the onion and sauté until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.

4) Add the bacon and cook, stirring often, until the fat is rendered and the bacon begins to smell good, about 5 minutes.

5) Add the chard stems and chopped squash. Stir well to coat the veggies with bacon drippings then add ¼ cup of water. Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and steam for about 10 minutes until the squash is beginning to soften.

6) Add the chard leaves, cranberries, and salt to the pan. Add another tablespoon or two of water if the pan is dry. Cover and steam for about 5 minutes until the greens have wilted.

7) Check the squash for doneness – it should be soft but not mushy. When the squash is cooked to your liking, taste for salt and add more as needed. Stir well, then top with the chopped pecans and serve immediately.

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