Entree / Gluten Free / Little Work

Chicken, Chard & Spinach

Roasted chicken is comfort food. It is, as I and many French cooks/chefs have said, is something that one must know how to do, and how to do well. Chicken dries out if overcooked and is disgusting at best if undercooked, as well as not safe to eat a piece of chicken that has not been thoroughly cooked.

Switch the herbs or spices and you have a totally different meal on the plate. In Maine the winter greens are showing up in many meals, finding variations on the theme is critical to keeping the cranky eaters at bay.

Dinner that cooks itself

This is one of those meals that you can cook after a long day at the office or carting the kids around. It takes a little planning in terms of having the ingredients on hand, but it really is an easy way to say, ” I do know what we are having for dinner.” Steam the chard and spinach after sautéing the onions, put the chicken in an ovenproof dish, and the meal cooks itself.

Frozen Chard

Don’t have fresh chard on hand? It’s in the freezer section nowadays. Frozen spinach is well-known, and now that chard is better known and always available in the produce section, it is also easily found in most freezer sections as well. Being practical in the kitchen is the key to kitchen happiness.

Dried Sage

Sage is not an herb that one thinks of combining with spinach and chard, so I did go out on a limb to try this, and if it had not worked, you would not be reading about it! Every time I post about using dried herbs, I get an email. In the winter and particularly now, we are not having people to dinner and to buy bunches of fresh herbs, like sage, it is rare that it all gets used before the black spots develop. Therefore, dried is great to have on hand. Plus no piece of roasted chicken ever objected to being dusted with the fragrant and lovely, mossy-colored dried herb.

What does minced, small, medium, or large dice mean?

In this recipe it is in relation to the onions. Recipes frequently do not specify, and if they do, it can be confusing as to what the particular sizes are. When it is specified it is because it either affects the cooking time or the presentation of the food. To give a rough idea as to the different sizes, the measurements are approximate. For photos of the different sizes, The Spruce Eats offers a detailed explanation with pictures showing the different cuts.

  • MINCED – commonly used term for garlic. It is tiny and allows for quick cooking. Shallots and sometimes onions are minced.
  • BRUNOISE – larger than minced, but smaller than a small dice. Used a lot in French cooking. Teeny, tiny pieces of vegetable often found in sauces or as a garnish tend to be cut into these minute pieces.
  • SMALL DICE – cubes of about .25″/.65cm. Cooks faster than a large dice and is often the size cut for the aromatics in sauces.
  • MEDIUM DICE- cubes of about .5″/1.25cm. Vegetables are often cut into a medium dice for sautéing.
  • LARGE DICE- cubes of about .75″/2cm. When roasting or using the base of a pan to season meat, fowl or fish, this would be a fairly common size cut. It allows the vegetables to cook more slowly and season the main course. Roasted vegetables are often cut to this size or larger for crisp outsides and creamy soft insides, such as potatoes or butternut squash.

Red, White or Rosé

Used to be that the only wine served with chicken was white. My suggestion would be to choose your wine based on how you have seasoned the chicken. Sage is an earthy herb, so perhaps an oaky Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Noir. Going with Rosé? Choose something crisp and dry. While I probably would save a full-bodied red for something a bit heartier, you should drink what you like. Wine should complement what you are eating and it must be something you want to drink. No longer must one pair a meat by its color.

Additional Recipes to try:

Roast Chicken French-Style (Poulet Roti) by Beets from Mon Petit Four
Hasselback Chicken by Bleuberet
Sweet & Sour Chicken by Bee from Rasa Malaysia

Chicken, Chard & Spinach

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 20 min Cooking Time: 35-40 min


  • 4-8 pieces of chicken
  • 2 - 3 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP dried sage
  • 2oz/ 60ml olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, medium dice (or 1 large onion)
  • 1 bunch swiss chard
  • 8 oz spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste



Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C


Melt butter in a small pan, or melt in microwave.


Place chicken in an ovenproof dish. Make sure it is big enough to have space between each piece.


With a pastry brush, coat the chicken with butter.


Sprinkle generously with sage, salt and pepper.


Roast for 35-40 minutes, until the skin is crisp and browned.




Use a pot that is large enough to hold all the spinach and chard. It will cook down, but at first consumes a lot of space.


Dice the onions.


Pour the olive oil into the pan/pot.


Sauté the onions until softened.


Place the chard and spinach in the pan/pot. Stir the onions from the bottom of the pot.


Cook down until most of the moisture has evaporated and the greens have wilted. Season with salt and pepper.


Remove chicken from the oven. Place some of the hard/spinach/onion mixture on a plate. Arrange the chicken in the center of the chard/spinach/onion mixture. Drizzle some of the pan juices from the chicken over the top.


If garlic is desired, add it to the onions after they are softened. Cook for a minute before adding the chard and spinach. Kale may also be used, but requires a longer cooking time and the stalks must be removed.

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