Chard leaves stuffed with rice and meat

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
  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. Serve the leaves warm, with yogurt on the side if desired or the chard stalks sauce ( hummus).

NOTE: If you have bones or leftover steak or chops, fry them a bit in oil (season them first) and use them to line the pot. This will add extra flavor to the rolled leaves.
The rice is left raw and will cook along with the meat in the rolled leaves.


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  1. Posted September 19, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink




  2. Posted September 19, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    These leaves look so delicious. Never thought the chard leaves could also be stuffed:)

  3. Posted September 19, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Un plat plein de saveurs. Cela fait une éternité que je n’ai pas cuisiné de bettes.
    C’est tellement bon.
    Quelle chance tu as d’être au Liban et d’avoir tous ces fruits et légumes à portée de main.
    A bientôt

  4. Posted September 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I keep promising myself I will make this recipe….. this look simple enough even for me :-) Diane

  5. Posted September 19, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful way to serve chard! Makes me actually WANT to eat chard!

  6. Posted September 20, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant idea! I bet they are delicious too.

  7. Posted September 21, 2012 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    You have so many great ideas for this vegetable… love the bone lining for the pan.

  8. Posted September 22, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    What a fantastic idea! I’m o excited to give this a try. One question for you though, do you cover the pot while it simmers and bubbles?

    Thanks! Julie

  9. Posted September 22, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Actually, one more question for you. Should the rice be raw or cooked?


  10. Joumana
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    @Julie: Sorry forgot to mention this: yes! very important to cover the pot while they leaves cook!and the rice should be raw.

  11. Posted September 23, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I wish the deer hadn’t eaten all of the Swiss Chard that I had planted! My grocer sells lovely organic chard though and this sounds like a delicious way to use it. I do love chard!

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