Monday, June 3, 2013

Swiss Chard with Eggs and Bacon


Last Saturday, J. and I finally made it out to the farmers’ market for the first time this season.  With all the various weddings and birthday festivities occupying our weekends, we haven’t had much time to ourselves. Which also means we haven’t had much time to go food shopping, so a lot of meals have been either eating out or cobbling together what I have in the pantry and freezer.  Which has been taking a toll on our wallets and waistlines!  So I was pretty excited to finally get to buy fresh produce from the farmers market.

In an effort to get more vegetables in my diet, I decided I wanted to experiment with a vegetable I had never cooked with before.  J. and I eat a lot of bell peppers, zucchini, broccoli, and the occasional Brussels sprouts here and here.  But I wanted to try something new.


Enter this Swiss chard from the farmers market. 

I have never cooked with Swiss chard before.  In fact, when I got home I had to google how best to store it. (Wrap it tightly in plastic and store it in the fridge.  Don’t wash it before storing it because it will wilt and get moldy).  So I polled the audience on Facebook on how best to cook it.  My sister’s good friend M. had made a beautiful suggestion, which she got from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver:

“Saute some onions and carrots in a large skillet, add the Chard. When it wilts, make depressions in the Chard, crack eggs in the depressions, cover and cook until the eggs are done. Yummy!”

I was pysched to try it! I had to wait until Sunday to try it though, since we already had dinner plans for a friend’s birthday. I had read that swiss chard, like corn, is best when eaten the same day, so I was a bit bummed that I had to wait.  But it was well worth the wait!

I wanted to add a little something more to M.’s original suggestion.  And since swiss chard was a leafy green like spinach, and spinach goes great with bacon, bacon would be the perfect accent for this dish.

But Cheryl, you ask, isn’t this supposed to be your “healthy” post for the week?

Well, bacon is delicious and makes everything better.  And when used as in moderation as an accent, and most of the fat is drained, it’s really not that bad for you.  I believe it was Mark Bittman who even encouraged the use of moderate amounts of bacon to be used to season or accent food. 

Still not convinced?  Have a religious or dietary restriction on pork products?  Well, I’m sure this is still great without the bacon.  But the bacon adds a richness that makes it “soul-foody” as J. described it.  So unless you have a religious or dietary restriction, then I say go for it, eat the bacon.

Special Thanks to M. for the excellent suggestion!

Swiss Chard with Eggs and Bacon

Adapted from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver


  • 1 bunch swiss chard, thoroughly washed, ribs removed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped (I used a handful of baby carrots, and thinly sliced them at an angle)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 2 eggs (can cook more, but we only had two left in the fridge)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste


In a large skillet, cook bacon to desired doneness.  Remove bacon strips from pan and drain on paper towels.  Set bacon aside.  Drain most of the bacon fat from the pan, leaving about one tablespoon in the pan to cook the vegetables in.   Reserve the bacon fat.  Cook carrots and onions in 1 tablespoon of bacon fat over medium-low heat for about 8 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and soft.  Add Swiss chard to the pan.  (You may have to add them in handfuls, allow it to wilt a bit, and then add more, to get it to fit in the pan.)  When the chard has wilted, push it to the sides of the pan, creating a “well.”  Add about 1/2 tsp of bacon fat (or you could use olive oil if you forget to reserve the fat).  Add minced garlic to the fat and cook for about 30 seconds before stirring it into the vegetables.  Make two little “wells” in the chard for the eggs.  Crack the eggs in to the “wells” and cover the pan.  Cook for another 4-5 minutes or until done.  Add seasonings to taste.   Crumble reserved bacon strips and sprinkle on top of the chard.  Serve immediately.

Other accompaniments I would add for next time would be to serve with a slice of good crusty bread, or perhaps with some parmesan or gruyere cheese on top.

Other useful links on Swiss chard:

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