Last week, every meal I made came out of my current favorite cookbook, The Bonne Femme Cookbook by Wini Moranville. This book claims that these recipes are what French wives and mothers cook every day. They aren’t difficult, they don’t require tons of prep, and they use ingredients that are in season and available nearly everywhere. And any book about France will tell you that the majority of French mothers work outside the home! Most of the meals I made last week took no longer than 30 minutes. They tasted rich, but weren’t over the top, they had variety in flavors, ingredients and yet weren’t expensive. They were all full flavor and I still lost two pounds at the end of the week and honestly, didn’t expect to because the meals had been so satisfying. (how sad that we expect healthy food to be miserable)
This simple Swiss chard recipe was one I made last Monday. I told Matt, “If we want to have it again, I’ll write a post about it” and not only did we have it again the next day for lunch, I wanted to have it a third time, but held back only because I had other meals planned. It was that good.
There are two types of Swiss chard you can buy (there may be more, but these two are available at local grocery stores here in Lubbock, TX) – there’s rainbow chard which has beautiful red, pink and yellow stalks, and then there’s this variety, White Stalk Chard:
I found that this type isn’t bitter at all, which as most of you know, greens in general tend to have a bitter bite to them. Many find that appealing, but despite my best efforts to get past the bitterness, I tend to add more and more bacon to greens that are TOO bitter, and that’s a bit counter productive to a week of trying to eat well.
So now you know what to look for to build this lovely meal. The original recipe called for blue cheese instead of Parmesan, but I had parm on hand, so that’s what I used and I really loved the way the nuttiness of it went with the apples and chicken. I think any cheese would be fantastic.
Swiss Chard with Roasted Chicken, Apples, Pistachios and Parmesan
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing the chicken
4 ounces Swiss chard leaves, coarsely shredded (I didn’t use the center stalk – just took the green)
1 large, tart red apple, such as a Braeburn (this is what I bought) peeled, cored and diced
1/4 cup diced Parmesan cheese (or any crumbly cheese)
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachios
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350F
Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and brush them lightly with olive oil. Place the chicken breasts in a shallow baking dish and bake until the internal temp registers 170F on an instant read thermometer, about 20 minutes (we use the ThermaPen and it’s awesome and quick.) Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, combine the Swiss chard, apple, cheese and pistachios in a large bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Cut your chicken breasts into bite sized pieces, or shred it using two forks. Add the chicken to the chard mixture and toss to combine; the chard leaves will soften a bit from the heat of the chicken, but this adds to the comfort of the meal, in my opinion. Add the vinaigrette and toss again to combine. Divide the salad among four shallow bowls and serve.