Chard leaves get plenty of love, but the stalks pack a delicious punch, too. Vivian Howard, star of the PBS series A Chef's Life and chef-owner of Chef & the Farmer in North Carolina, quick-pickles the bright magenta and gold pieces for a crunchy fried-rice topping you'll want to eat straight from the fridge. (Her trick for the crispiest fried rice: Let the cooked grain dry out overnight in an open container in the refrigerator, then press it against the bottom of a hot pan without stirring until it forms a golden crust.)

Serves 4


Pickled Stems:
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup Swiss chard ribs and stems, cut into 1/4" pieces (from chard in fried rice)

    Fried Rice:
  • 5 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 (3/4-pound) bunch Swiss chard, leaves sliced into 1" pieces, ribs and stems cut into 1/4" pieces
  • 2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. peeled and minced ginger (from a 3" piece), divided
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic, divided
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 3 cups cooked white rice, refrigerated uncovered overnight
  • 1 large leek, white part only, halved and sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro leaves and stems, chopped (about 1/4 cup)


    Total time: 50 minutes

    To make pickled stems: In a small pot, bring 1/2 cup water, vinegar, sugar, garlic, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Add chard ribs and stems, reduce heat to medium, and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Set aside to serve, or cover and chill overnight for the best flavor. (Pickled stems will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 month.)

    To make fried rice: In a 12" skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat until foaming. Add chard leaves, broth, 1 Tbsp. ginger, vinegar, 1 tsp. garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, tossing often, until leaves are wilted and the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

    Add remaining 4 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. oil and wait for it to foam. Add rice, toss briefly with chard mixture, and press into a thin layer over bottom of skillet. Scatter on top leeks, red pepper flakes, remaining 1 Tbsp. ginger, 1 tsp. garlic and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook without stirring until bottom of rice is golden, 5 to 7 minutes. (Check by using a thin metal spatula to carefully lift edge.) Stir to combine, then press into an even layer again. Cook until uniformly deep golden brown on bottom, about 5 minutes. Divide among four bowls, top with cilantro and drained pickled chard stems, and serve immediately.

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