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Spicy Swiss Chard with Bacon
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Right Food for the Season - Early Fall
Written by Jon Ross-Wiley   
The first step of this recipe is to put diced, thick-cut, peppered bacon into a large sauté pan that has been lightly coated with olive oil.  Sold?  I change this recipe a bit every time, but each time I sell myself on the merits of this dish. To those of you that find Swiss chard or other greens bitter, you're not alone.  This "salad" may convert you, however.  Each bite is nicely balanced, with the bitterness being offset by the smoke of the bacon and the heat of the pepper flakes.  The dish plates well too, which makes it a winner for kicking off a nice dinner for guests. Enjoy.
 
Ingredients:
 
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 slices thick-cut bacon, diced (the pepper-rubbed variety I used worked quite nicely)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 bunch Swiss chard: stems removed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths, leaves cut into bite-sized pieces (Collard greens can work as a substitute here)
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
Kosher salt (optional: I find this depends on the type of bacon you use)
 
Method:
 
Coat a large sauté pan lightly with olive oil and add the diced bacon, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Bring the pan to medium-high heat. When the garlic turns a nice golden brown, remove from the pan (they're only there to flavor the oil).  Once you remove the garlic, the bacon should start to become crispy and brown. Add the Swiss chard stems and the stock and cook down until the stock has mostly evaporated. Add the Swiss chard leaves. Sauté until they are wilted. 
 
NOTE: Planning on making something with beets?  Don't just by Swiss chard.  Buy your beets, and use the greens you might otherwise discard.
 

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