This concludes the swiss chard Lebanese dishes (for now!); stuffed with meat and rice or vegan, and served with its hummus made with chard stalks.
The advantage of chard over grape leaves is twofold: First, when rolled the leaves don’t need to be tucked, which saves a lot of time (you can roll an entire pot of chard leaves in 30 minutes). Second, chard is available almost year-round, unlike grape leaves which can only be plucked in the Spring or bought canned.
INGREDIENTS: 8 servings (as a main course)
- 2 bunches of chard
- 1/2 pound of ground meat (beef, veal, lamb or a combo)
- 1 cup of short-grain rice (Egyptian, Italian, sushi, Turkish, etc)
- salt, black pepper
- extra meat bones (optional), leftover steak or chops
- 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice
- 5 garlic cloves
- olive oil, as needed
- Cut the stalks off the chard leaves and reserve for the hummus later. Boil a large quantity of salted water in a pot and drop the leaves for a few seconds to blanch them; when they wilt, remove them immediately.
- Drain the chard leaves in a sieve and while they cool and drain prepare the stuffing; in a bowl, mix the ground meat with the rice and salt and pepper. Take each chard leaf and cut in two or three (about 5 inches) placing a tablespoon of stuffing on one end and roll like a cigar. Place a few stalks in the bottom of the pot (you can use bones if you have some) and place the leaves on top of the stalks in a concentric circle.
- Place a small plate on the leaves to keep them in place while cooking, two cups of water and the lemon juice and place over medium-low heat over the stove. Cover the pot and bring to a gentle simmer and let the pot bubble for about 45 minutes to an hour.
- About 15 minutes before the end of cooking, mash the garlic with salt, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small skillet and drop the mashed garlic on the olive oil. Fry for 5 seconds, then pour the garlic mixture into the pot, towards the sides so that it infuses the broth and all the leaves.
- Serve the leaves warm, with yogurt on the side if desired or the chard stalks sauce ( hummus).