My plan was to make a soup or stew, and use the leftover chard perhaps for a quiche or tart, and I wanted something new. I googled chard and scrolled, and found this recipe from Martha Stewart. I almost always follow a new recipe exactly, and then change it up the second time I make it - but this one was perfect just as it was written, though I did substitute salsa for tomato paste. I was a little dubious that it would use the whole bundle of chard, to be honest - but I used every bit of it. You do have to do a little prep with the chard, dividing the stems (which are chopped into 1 inch pieces), from the leaves (which are simply sliced, also in 1 inch ribbons).
And it was delicious, with plenty left over to freeze for later.
Red Chard and Lentil Soup
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter (for sauteing)
2 tablespoons good salsa (I use Green Mountain Gringo)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
kosher salt to taste, fresh pepper to taste
pinch of hot pepper flakes
1 cup lentils
5 cups water
one bunch fresh red chard, divided into stems and leaves and chopped into 1 inch pices
1/2 large lemon, squeezed in just before serving
Saute the onion and olive oil until soft.
Add the salsa, oregano, thyme, and hot pepper flakes and stir.
Add the lentils, diced tomatoes, and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, covered. Taste ( and make sure lentils aren't crunchy and undercooked) and add a few pinches of salt and pepper.
Add the chopped chard stems and cook for 5 minutes, then add the chopped leaves and cook for 20 minutes more. I added the leaves in three batches - they cooked down very quickly.
Remove from heat and squeeze the lemon juice into the soup before serving.
This freezes very well.
I visited that beautiful greenhouse at Como Park again - deliciously warm and steamy in the jungle room (so steamy my camera fogged up), and this pretty 10" tree in the bonsai room.