We receive quite a bit of Swiss chard in our vegetable delivery and while I reassure myself regularly that it is healthy and seasonal, I find it kind of dull. In general I love leafy greens (kale!) but finding something creative to do with chard seems to be much harder because of it’s particular structure and it’s bitter stems. So here is the first of a few interesting and exciting chard recipes I challenged myself to make.
You could easily bake this chard and bacon recipe into one large pie, but the individual hand pies are really fun and make a great grab and go snack, appetizer, or breakfast. Plus, for anyone out there who struggles to get family members to eat greens, the cutesy format doesn’t hurt (nor does the bacon). If you want to make these vegetarian, I suggest omitting the bacon and adding Parmesan or gruyere cheese instead.
Swiss Chard & Bacon Turnovers(6-8 turnovers)
Both the filling and the pastry can be made a day ahead and baked the next day.
First make the pastry as you will want it to chill out in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. In the bowl of a food processor pulse together the flour, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into approximately 1 cm cubes and toss in with flour. I recommend actually doing this with your fingers so they don't all lump together. Pulse the butter a few times until it is pea sized. Now stream in the water while continuing to pulse. It should form a rough dough. Remove from the processor and place onto a clean surface and press into a disc. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate.
Now make the filling, you will need to chill it before you can form the turnovers, so this can also be done ahead. Dice the bacon into small pieces and place in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crisp. Stirring occasionally, to cook evenly.
In the meantime wash the chard thoroughly. Remove the stems and chop fine. Roughly chop the leaves and keep separate. When the bacon is crisped, remove to a paper towel to drain. Add the stems and cook until soft. Add the chard leaves and a pinch of salt and sugar. Cover the pot and cook until the leaves have wilted. Remove the lid and allow some of the liquid to simmer off while cooking until the leaves are soft. Approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Press all the excess liquid out of the chard and combine with the bacon. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Stir in a a beaten egg.
Preheat oven to 425F or 400F convection. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out to about 4mm. Cut into 4"x4" squares. (Note you can make them as big as you like, but you may need to increase the cooking time and filling size.) Get yourself ready to form these by lining a baking sheet with parchment and assembling a station. You will need a little bowl of cold water, a fork, a paring knife and your filling. For each turnover drop a generous tablespoon of filling in the middle of the square, now run a wet finger along two adjacent sides of the square. Fold into a triangle such that each dry side meets with one that you have wet. Gently press the edges. Use your fork to go around the edges and press. Now with your paring knife gently cut a few slits in the top of the turnover. Transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining squares. Brush each turnover lightly with the cream. Bake for ~30 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Cool on a rack.