Swiss Chard Pie Recipe

Swiss Chard Pie

Spinach is one of the rare vegetables I will not eat. Possibly, this has to do with the green puke they were trying to pass off as spinach at summer camp. I did try real supposedly yummy fresh spinach, but could not take it. Bleh. The only form I can eat it in, is when it doesn’t taste like spinach at all, in spinach ravioli for instance.

Now, people tell me swiss chard tastes very much like spinach, so my taste buds must be a bit weird, as I seem to love swiss chard about as much as I loathe its cousin. I had been craving swiss chard pie all summer, so last week-end, when I saw big bunches of it at the produce store, I got one. It was so huge I had to cut it in two so it would fit in the fridge. But that was very easily done with my new extra-sharp chef knife. Heh.

As much as I am particular about home-made pie dough for desserts, I always use store-bought flaky (pâte feuilletée) or regular dough (pâte brisée) for the savory pies and tarts I make. Grocery stores in France carry perfectly acceptable ones. This time I had gotten thin pizza dough (less fat apparently), to see how it would turn out.

Premade pie dough is sold rolled out onto parchment paper then rolled up into a cylinder, making it easy as pie (haha) to just unroll it onto your pie dish, saving you the laying out of parchment paper in the bargain. But as I unrolled this pizza dough, I realized it was really very small in diameter. I needed it to be quite larger than my dish to have extra dough to fold over the filling, so I tried to massage it to the desired size by pulling at the edges with my hands. But I must not have done this gently enough (or just bad karma?), because the dough ripped and was just a mess. I thought what-the-heck-I’ll-just-start-over, turned it into a ball and tried to roll it out using a rolling pin. When that obviously didn’t work – the dough being way too elastic – I just dumped it in the trash (I should have saved it and used it for something else but didn’t, as a measure of punishment), ran to the store, luckily just a block away, got another one, skipped the line thanks to a nice customer who saw I only had one item, and hurried home. This time I handled the dough with way more care, and laid it out in a deep pie pan, with “flaps” of dough hanging outside.

I then prepared the swiss chard. I washed it, then separated the leaves from the stems. In a large pot, I heated up olive oil and two cloves of crushed garlic – very flavorful pink garlic from Lautrec (our friend Ludo – a cooking enthusiast as well – brought us back a 1kg bunch from a recent trip). When the oil was nice and hot, I added the cut-up stems, salt and pepper, and sauteed them for a few minutes. I then added the leaves, torn in smaller pieces, and left all that to cook over medium heat, for a few more minutes.

Meanwhile, I made a cup of tea and let a handful of raisins soak in it, toasted a handful of pinenuts in a dry skillet and put the oven on to preheat at 220°C.

When the chard was ready, I drained it in a colander, then put it in a medium bowl, adding in half a cup of ricotta, the drained raisins and the pine nuts. This was poured into the prepared pie pan, and the edges of the dough were folded back to cover some of the filling. Ideally, the crust should be brushed with a beaten egg yolk or melted butter, but I skipped this part.

I put the pie in to bake for about 35 minutes, until the crust was nice and golden. At that point I realized that the filling was still a bit too wet. I should have drained the chard more thoroughly. But it seemed ready otherwise, so I took it out and sort of mopped the extra liquid with a paper towel, then left it on the counter for a few minutes before serving.

I like this recipe very much. The sweetness of the raisins and ricotta balanced the otherwise sharp taste of the chard, and the pinenuts offered a nice textural change. The amount of filling made for a very satisfyingly thick pie, and the pizza dough was nice and crunchy, but thin enough not to occupy the center of the stage. Leftovers reheated very well in the oven the next day…

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  • http://pie.blogs.com Yael

    Hi Clothilde – I love your site and am eager to try this recipe. It sounds perfect for a winter evening! Just wondering…where do you find swiss chard in Paris? At my local Monoprix and even at the market, I’ve rarely seen dark, leafy greens other than spinach. They might have them at the marché bio, but the prices there are usually astronomical. What’s your secret?

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Yael – I have also found it somewhat difficult to find swiss chard here. It’s called “blettes” or “bettes” in French and is not the most popular veggie, so regular grocery stores don’t often carry it. It’s unfortunately out of season right now, the season seems to be March to October from what I’ve found.

    But when it is, I’ve found it in produce stores (you know the kind, with a little stall outside, usually kept by three or four Tunisian guys?). In the meantime, you could sub spinach if you like it, possibly using Picard’s frozen spinach, their vegetables are really good. Hope you like it, let me know how it turns out!

  • Amy Billstrom

    Late to the table, so to speak, I discovered CnZ via NPR just recently. Now, I’m hooked and must check in if not every day, then frequently. A great break from the pressures and demands of daily life.
    Tried the chard pie last night – it’s great! I had difficulty rolling out pizza dough (I love Trader Joe’s) but quickly reverted to pretending to be a Pizza Guy and stretching it with my knuckles. I stopped short of throwing it in the air . . .
    My four year old, after a sceptical taste, pointed to his plate and said, “I think I love this!”

  • Rach

    Hi, Clothilde, I know this is an older entry but I was wondering what kind of tin you used for this. I’m contemplating trying this with my springform with my own pate brisee (sigh, Australian stores suck), but I was thinking it might be a bit big.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Rach – You can make this in a 9- or 10-inch pan (23- to 25-centimeter). Have fun, and let me know how it turns out!

  • http://daydreamdelicious.blogspot.com Bonnie

    Hi Clotilde!

    Just to let you know, we made this last night, after having a pack of chard in our organic box. It worked out really well and prompted us to go back for seconds! We subed bacon for the raisins which was very tasty. The chard stalks, I thought, tasted quite like asparagus, although I’m not sure if we had Swiss Chard exactly, or some other form of chard. We’ll be making this next weekend to serve cold to our vegetarian guests at our BBQ (only minus the bacon of course). Thanks for the recipe.

  • http://www.steppingstonescoaching.blogspot.com Sarah Raad

    I love swizz chard and there are so few recipes about for it! I like to stir fry it and souse it with soy, crushed garlic and ginger and a splash of nam pla then serve with grilled salmon or even some quick fried minute steak – delicious!

  • http://herebesubtlety.com Jamie

    Phew. I thought I was the only food-a-holic who still couldn’t bring herself to liking a spinach.

    I try to explain to myself why I don’t usually like it. I will eat cannelloni filled with ricotta and spinach for example and whenever my husband has a spinach pizza I will eat a little piece of it, so it can’t be taste.

    I think it’s the texture of it. The same reason why I don’t like most cabbages I guess. It’s just a strange mixture of mushy/yet-not-so-mushy, I don’t even have a word for it.

    Yet I hate that I do not like it since there seem to be so many good recipes with spinach, all of which I can’t make because I just know I won’t eat it.

  • Ellen

    Clotilde, thanks for mentioning the point about draining the chard really well. I used half green swiss chard, half beet greens. The stalks of the beet greens are an intense purple even after they’ve been cooked. Used toasted walnuts instead of pignoli. This filling would be great served with sliced pork tenderloin.

  • Monica

    I love swiss chard and just tried out this recipe. I used feta and made a few other alterations. I didn’t quite get it this time, but the idea is awesome. Similarly, for other swiss chard lovers, try it in spanakopita. Cook the swiss chard in a little oil, (stems first) and with a little garlic or onion too if you want. Then use it like spinach in your spanakopita recipe. It’s beyond delicious.

  • Corrie

    I made this today and it was delicious. It’s the first C&Z recipe I tried. I’m sure there are more to follow. I put some grated cheese on top for my cheese-loving husband.

  • http://www.sarahmelamed.com Sarah

    you are right of course, swiss chard tastes nothing like spinach which seems much stronger somehow. wish I had acceptable store bought pie crusts around here.

  • David

    Ma Chère Dame,

    What a lovely blog you have! :) I first heard of you two years ago in San Francisco and have sought you out since I am making a Thanksgiving dinner for my friends and I who are stuck in DC for the holiday

    I am mad about Swiss Chard, Clarissa Dickson Wright got me to fall in love with it, and wanted to do a Chard recepie to go along with a Cuban inspired Orange Cumin Cilantro and pepper pork loin. This pie of yours looks just the ticket :) I love your use of the raisins ricotta and pignoli nuts in this.

    That said I’m a great cook, but not the best baker, lol :P Can I use a Whole Foods pizza dough or Trader Joe’s (our American foodie chains) puff pastry or Greek or French store bought puff pastry for this? The rest I’m confident about but am a bit préoccupé about the pie part of this delicious sounding pie…what are your thoughts? :)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      You can definitely make this with a store-bought crust, David. I wouldn’t recommend a pizza dough, but puff pastry would work nicely. Hope it turns out to your liking!

      • David

        Mille merci! :) I will let you know how it goes, as I do think I’m going to attempt it, is there one type of puff pastry that you might suggest over any other or would any do?

        Again,thank you so much for getting back to me :)

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

          Seek out an all-butter puff pastry and check the ingredients list to make sure there are no nasties hiding out in it, but beyond that I can’t recommend a particular US brand.

  • David

    Thank you for all your advice, if I can’t find a good all butter one that does not have tons of bad stuff hiding in it (and sadly so far I haven’t been able to find one that is affordable and not super unhealthy) I am thinking of using this nice healthy phylo i have used before, but should I coat the pie dish with olive oil or butter if I am going to use the phlyo ?(which as of now I think I am going to have to do…)

    mille merci! :)

    David

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      If I were trying this with phyllo dough, I would use it as it’s usually done for a spanakopita, i.e. by coating the dish with olive oil or melted butter, and brushing each sheet of phyllo with more olive oil or butter as I stack them.

  • David

    you are an Angel! Mille Merci! :) Thank you for helping me :)

  • David

    Clotilde! It was an utter success! I tweaked it a bit though, adding anchovies with the garlic as well as shallots and omitting the ricotta and using Pecorino Roman instead, I also added a bit of cayenne to give it a kick and brushed some Lebanese cinnamon on top with the olive oil glaze. My friends adored it and I am quite proud of how it turned out, I can email you a picture of it if you’d like? :)

    Thank you ever so much for all your kind help, my friends have already demanded I make this again next week in fact! ;)

    David

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m so pleased, David, thank you for reporting back, and congratulations on a well-deserved success! I would love to see a picture.

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