Today I made some stuffed swiss chard leaves in roughly one third of the time it normally takes to make them.
I simply changed one thing: Instead of cutting the leaves into neat four-inch squares, I thought “why not make king-size cigars instead?”
I bought two bunches of swiss chard and they were beautiful, with huge leaves. I cut the thick stalks (to use later in a salad or soup) and rolled up the leaves into extra-long snakes that I curved around to look like a water hose. Simple and so much easier! (Why did I not think of it sooner?)
- 4 Lamb chops
- 8 ounces of minced beef or lamb
- 1 cup of Egyptian rice (or sushi rice or Turkish rice or any rice that is short-grain)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of seven-spice mix
- salt, to taste and a generous pinch of cinnamon
- 1/2 cup of concentrated lemon juice (or the juice of 2 fresh lemons)
- 2 cups of water
- 8 ounces of yogurt
- Wash the chard leaves thoroughly under tap water and in the meantime soak the rice in a bowl covered in water.
- Cut the leaves from the stalks, leaving the leaves as is. Bring two quarts of water and a dash of salt to a boil and drop the leaves in the pot for 30 seconds. Remove and drain then lay flat on paper towels. Reserve the stalks for a salad or a soup.
- Drain the rice and (wearing gloves if possible) combine with the meat well; add the spices listed or some other of your choice. Meanwhile, heat the pot and pan-fry the lamb chops so that they brown on both sides, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Drain the fat from the pot or dab with paper towels.
- Start filling the leaves by shaping a long sausage and placing it in the middle of each leaf; shape the sausage the same size (minus one inch) as the leaves; roll it tight, just not too tight as the rice needs room to expand both lengthwise and widthwise.
- Place the rolled chard leaves on top of the lamb chops, coiling them around as necessary until the coils look like a water hose and the lamb chops have been completely covered. Place a small plate on the leaves to hold them in place and pour gently 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of lemon juice (I used a bottled juice) onto the pot.
- Bring to a simmer and let the leaves and the rice mixture cook gently for about one hour. Uncover the last 10 minutes of cooking to reduce the broth and taste a couple grains of rice to see if it is well cooked.
- Flip the pot onto a serving platter and serve with a side bowl of yogurt.
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