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By Laura Stec

House of Chards

Uploaded: Mar 5, 2015

Must be hard to be chard.

Chard just isn't getting much attention these days. I've started to feel sorry for it, always reaching over those smiley broad leaves to grab for the kale instead. To assuage my guilt, I did a little greens research. Turns out chard has some things over its almighty cousin, like increased fiber, protein, calcium, and 16% more iron! Chard is also really high in vitamins A, K and C.

The House of Chard has three commons: Rhubarb Chard (red stem), Swiss Chard (white stem), and Rainbow Chard (multi-colored stem). They look different, but can be used interchangeably. We can learn from them.

I actually prefer young chard (who doesn't?), small supple leaves especially good raw in salads. Like the man of my dreams, they are hard to find in the store, so keep an eye out at farmers markets. When I get the older, bigger leaves, I cut out their appendage, chop and saute, unlike kale stems that I just toss away and compost. Use chard stems like celery in your soups and stews.

If the leaves are really big, they make a great wrap for leftovers. Mix together what ever grains, veggies or meats you have from last night's dinner, add some red pepper flakes or fresh herbs, and put in the center of lightly blanched chard leaves. (Shortened directions: F. U. *) Roll them up like a burrito, tucking in the sides, and place in a baking dish with some tomato sauce or chopped fresh tomatoes on top, and a splash of white wine and olive oil on the bottom. Top with fresh Parmesan cheese, cover and bake at 350º F for 30 minutes, or until warm inside.

I'm not a gardener, but every time I live with one, we have chard. So I think it must be super easy to grow, and the nice thing about it is you can harvest only the leaves you want. The remaining bunch just keeps growing, ready for your next meal.

No, chard is not as ruthless, cunning, or in pursuit of power like its brethren kale....

But it can be dangerous when it needs to be.

Super Easy Stuffed Chard (center) as described above

Master Gardeners, are there artisan breeds of chard? Tell us the good ones, please. I think these store varieties were shaped for size, not flavor or texture.

* Fill Up? (ok, before I get myself in any more trouble - this whole post is a play on House of Cards. You have to watch the show to know what the letters really stand for).