Chard recipe – born out of necessity when it used to arrive in my vegbox every single week…
When I lived in England I had a vegbox delivered every week from the Riverford company. I can heartily recommend the experience to cooks and foodies alike. I had mine delivered by the Nottingham box people (hi Allan!) for around 8 years and loved it.
Each week was like getting a present, and I’d be so excited to see what was inside… locally grown carrots with their tops, organic potatoes still covered in earth, big knobbly vegetables I couldn’t identify and more. It was really fun and the quality of the produce was excellent, always, and tasted much better than supermarket veg.
The other benefit of getting a veg box is that it makes you cook more and try new things. I never wanted to waste any of the precious food so carefully grown and picked and delivered to me each week, so I would go out of my way to try new dishes and find ways to make even things I didn’t like into a treat. The recipe I am going to share now was born out of that experimentation.
Finding this recipe meant that when a big bunch of chard arrived in the box – whether it was swiss chard with crisp white stems or glorious rainbow chard with its bold orange, purple and pink stems – it became a time for celebration.
It used to be that the sight of those big green leaves peeping over the top of the box would leave me cold, already anticipating trying to find a way to hide them in a dish. After welcoming this soup into my life, the first autumnal arrival of chard was a happy day.
This is a really welcoming, soothing, velvety dish. The coconut milk brings a sweetness to the chard’s earthy flavour and the chickpeas add an extra buttery texture to the smooth soup. It’s a real autumnal pleasure.
This recipe originally came from Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook – a fantastic book that I can’t recommend enough, especially if you like to grow your own, get a veg box, eat seasonally etc – but I have since adapted and changed it to suit my own needs. Here is my version.
Serves 4 as a meal, 6 as a starter. Super quick & easy to make.
- 1 onion (medium)
- 400-500g Chard (swiss or rainbow – either is fine. If I didn’t have enough I would substitute kale or other leafy greens, but chard is best)
- 1 can coconut milk (you can use light coconut milk if you like)
- 200g chickpeas
- 900mls good stock (I use veg, but chicken would be good for non-vegetarians)
- Chop the onion finely. I chop mine into thin ribbons as I think this shape sweats down best and caramelises well.
- Sweat the onion gently over a low heat in oil & a bit of butter – season the onions. Leave the lid on and cook till soft & translucent. I also like to get little caramelised bits as I feel that adds to the flavour. To do this I just take the lid off and turn it up a touch for a few minutes.
- Get the stock ready.
- Chop the chard roughly – I chop the stalks into 1-2cm pieces as they cook slower than the leaves. Chop/rip the leaves into big pieces.
- Open the coconut milk.
- When the onions are ready add the chard, coconut milk and stock to the pan and bring to the boil. It may look a little unappetising at this point, but don’t worry. It will be delicious!
- Cook for around 15 mins (til the stalks are cooked through) then blend well.
- Add the chickpeas and cook for 5-10 mins more.
- Season & serve!
A couple of notes:
Sarah Raven recommends eating it warm rather than hot as it helps to bring out the flavour, and she is so right about that!
I recommend adding croutons if having it as a main meal and always recommend eating it with crunchy bread.
I always serve mine with lots of black pepper, it really gives the flavour a lovely lift and adds to the warming effect.
I hope you enjoy this chard recipe – I must confess I never cook anything else with chard because I like this so much that if I get a batch of chard this is always what I make!
Are there any other vegetables you find particularly difficult to palate? Why not leave us a comment and if we have a recipe for them we will share it on the blog!