Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Swiss Chard Rolls

Chard is a vegetable that doesn't get enough respect. At least not from me; I admit it. But we grew a little patch of it this year and it was up and producing leaves in June, and it is still going strong after several frosts. That's about 5 months steady supply of leafy greens, from one little spot. We grew what is called 5-colour chard, or Rainbow chard this year and it gives a nice blend of light and dark leaves, with stems in white, pink, magenta, orange and yellow. Very pretty. It doesn't have a lot of pests either; slugs and snails like it but didn't do too much damage. Goldfinches did more damage, believe it or not. They would sit on the tallest leaves and peck at them until they were lace, so we just left the tallest leaves to them and picked the next size down.

Anyway, I've been meaning all summer to make these rolls, and I finally got around to it. They were easier than I was thinking they would be. Unlike cabbage, the raw chard leaves are very easy to work with. Try to pick ones that are even in size, and preferably on the wide end of the scale, although I did alright with a bit of a range in size and shape of the leaves.

Yes, that tomato sauce is yellow, because we canned it this summer ourselves using yellow tomatoes. Fancy, isn't it? It's going to take a little getting used to.

8 rolls (4 servings)
1 hour - 30 minutes prep time

Swiss Chard Rolls
1 small onion
8 medium-large chard leaves
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
1 medium carrot
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh dill
OR 1 tablespoon dried dill leaves
250 grams (1/2 pound) lean ground beef or lamb
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Peel and mince the onion. Cut the stems from the chard leaves, and chop about half of them fairly finely. Heat the oil in a skillet and cook the onion and chard stems until just soft, stirring frequently; about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Peel and grate the carrot. Mince the dill. Put the carrot and dill into a mixing bowl with the beef or lamb, and salt and pepper to taste. (I used about 1/4 teaspoon each.) Add the cooked onion and chard stems. Mix well - I find it easiest to do this by hand.

Wash the chard leaves and drain well. Divide the meat mixture into 8 equal parts - divide it into quarters, then divide each quarter into halves. Lay each chard leaf out, face down, and put a seqment of the meat mixture in the bottom quadrant. Fold up the bottom and sides to cover it, then roll the leaf up to form as neatish a cylinder as you can.

Put the chard rolls into a large covered steamer with plenty of water, and steam them for 30 minutes. Serve with tomato sauce, over barley pilaf or rice. Save the water from steaming them to make soup.

Last year at this time I made Cranberry, Orange & Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies.


Ruth said...

What a great idea. I picked up some chard at the grocery store yesterday...a HUGE bunch for $1.49. Then I put it back because I had no idea how I would use it.

Julie Bethlenfalvy said...

Hi. I hope you are still blogging Ferzy. My name is Julie with Lake Erie Living magazine, which is out of Cleveland. I'd like to interview you about supporting local establishments by eating locally. We specifically like your recipe for Swiss Chard Rolls. Please contact me as soon as you can. I'd like to interview you by the end of this week/beginning of next if possible. Thanks!