Something wonderful is on the way. Serve Swiss chard baked and rolled up with your favorite meat, cheese and tomato favorites. Or, keep it vegan and vegetarian with seared tofu, acorn squash and barley. Whatever combination you like, this technique for baking rolls will be fun, flavorful and creative. Venture beyond the realm of stir-fry or boiling and turn these beautiful, rainbow colored chards into dinner-fantastic. I’ve made several varieties over the years, but this one is my favorite. I’m demonstrating how to make them at the cooking class I’m teaching at the UpTown Farmers Market in Phoenix this Saturday.
First start the rice, followed by the meat, sauce and cheese. BTW: I make my own ricotta cheese. It is surprisingly quick and simple to make and cost only one gallon of milk. Taste homemade ricotta just once and you’ll want to make it for yourself.
Boil 2 C water in a pot with fitted lid. If you have stock, use 1C stock and 1C water. Add 1C rice to boiling water and reduce to simmer. When water calms down, place lid on top and cook for 15-20 min.
½ LB ground chuck hamburger meat
½ LB ground turkey
½ small red onion
1TB fennel seed
1TB dried oregano
1TB apple cider vinegar
1tsp red pepper flake
1tsp white or black pepper
2tsp coarse salt
½ tsp sugar
Heat oil and sauté onion for about 15 minutes, lightly salt and add sugar while sautéing. Add meats, spices and chard stems trimmed from the bottom. Cook for about 30 minutes on med-low heat.
Select ABOUT 10-12 leaves that are not tattered or that have large holes in the center. Keep and dice Swiss chard stems into the meat mixture)
1 (28 oz.) can of peeled plum tomatoes or 4 cups of fresh diced
1tsp dried basil or 5-6 large leaves of fresh
1 large garlic clove
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar
Bring tomatoes to boil and reduce to simmer. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 30 min. Puree tomato sauce with potato masher or large fork. You can use a blender, but the results may be inconsistent and too watery for the rolls.
I like making my own. Simmer 1 gal of whole milk to 190 temperature – stirring often so as not to scorch the bottom. Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp citric acid. Stir well and let sit until curds form. Skim curds and place them into a cheese cloth lined colander. Wrap tight and drain off excess hot water. Done!
SWISS CHARD LEAVES
Rainbow chard has the mildest flavor of the chard varieties. Fresh picked is always the sweetest. Choose leaves that are flat and similar in size, with the least tattered edges or holes. Submerged each leaf in boiling water for 10-12 seconds and lay them to drain and cool in a colander. No need to shock them with cold water.
STEPS TO ROLL’EM UP
Preheat the oven to 350. Cover the bottom of your baking dish with half the tomato sauce. Arrange the filling ingredients on the counter and lay a single cooled Swiss chard leaf out flat. TRIM about 1/3 of the rib stem away from leaf bottom and bring the edges back together. Trim enough out so that the leaf is pliable. Place about 1TB each of the cheese, rice and meat filling onto the center. Use more or less filling depending on the size of your leaf. Bring the sides in – and roll from the bottom to the top, placing the it seam side down into the baking dish. When finished, top the rolls with the remaining tomato sauce and bake uncovered for about 20 minutes.