Braised Chard Stems with Saffron

Chard is a leafy vegetable native to the shores of Sicily, yet it has an enduring association with Switzerland. Considered an essential part of the farmer’s garden, it was typically used as animal feed, with the leftover stalks added to evening stews. This recipe is a sophisticated interpretation of the original peasant dish, with the combination of Chard and Saffron frequently used in tarts and casseroles. This recipe is also quite old and reflects the relative poverty of Basel, where the middle classes simply enriched traditional peasant dishes.

Braised Chard Stems with Saffron

This recipe is a sophisticated interpretation of its peasant dish predecessor The combination of Chard and Saffron is found elsewhere in tarts and casseroles. Chard stems are softened first in boiling water before being sauteed with onions and saffron.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Sides
Cuisine: Basel, Swiss
Keyword: Braised, Chard, Saffron, Side, Vegetable
Servings: 4


  • 1 Kg Swiss Chard in German known as Mangold
  • 2 Medium Onions
  • 1 tbsp Carraway Seed
  • A few strands of saffron, about 100mg
  • 3-4 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • Freshly Ground Pepper


  • Cut the leafy parts away from the stems and set the leaves aside for a different dish.
  • Wash the stems and slice them into thin sticks, about 1 cm in width and up to 5 cm in length.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and simmer the chard slices for 10 minutes. When finished, remove and set aside to dry somewhat.
  • Now dice the onion finely and fry in the butter over medium heat until it turns yellow and translucent.
  • Add the vinegar and 1/2 cup of water, stir, and then add the saffron, caraway seeds, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the chard to the onion sauce and mix thoroughly and heat through.
  • Serve as a side to other swiss dishes

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