Stuffed swiss chard leaves with lamb chops and yogurt sauce

March 24, 2011  •  Category:


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


  1. Wash the chard leaves thoroughly under tap water and in the meantime soak the rice in a bowl covered in water.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Flip the pot onto a serving platter and serve with a side bowl of yogurt.


21 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Maria @ Scandifoodie says:

    Wow, this looks so impressive and I bet it tastes delicious too!

  2. Min {Honest Vanilla} says:

    This looks mouthwatering yummy! And the stuffing inside Swiss chard leaves are amazing! I can almost smell it from here 🙂

  3. Nuts about food says:

    I think when a certain step is so imprinted in one’s culinary tradition it is difficult to sometimes distance oneself from it. So even the simplest change is not obvious as it would be to someone from another tradition. I notice that a lot when foreigners cook Italian food. They sometimes do things “we” would consider outrageous (because it isn’t done!) but they turn out to be brilliant ideas. I like the idea of swiss chard in salad…I never knew it could be eaten raw…

  4. Rosa says:

    A scrumptious looking dish!



  5. Priya says:

    Would love to have those stuffed swiss chard leaves for my lunch, inviting platter..

  6. Ed Habib says:

    Looks wonderful, but seeing lamb chops (my favorite) sure make it hard to abstain from meat during the Orthodox Lent. Now if you can show me how to make lentils taste like lamb chops!

  7. Doc says:

    Your sweets continually tempt me! And the “cigars” are the kind that get doctor approved for consumption! Delicious and brilliant!

  8. Devaki says:

    This is incredible and what a labor of love…..there is something so very very attractive to me about wrapping meat and rice in leafy vegetables and the lamb shops with it is wodnerful. What a treat Joumana and lovely lovely flavors 🙂

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  9. sensiblecooking says:

    Oh my gosh, what a great dish. I am having some friends over tomorrow. Will have to change my menu plan to this. Oh gotta shop after work. Excited.

  10. Erica says:

    That looks so good!!!! My mouth is watering!

  11. Nicole says:

    These look incredible! Seriously if you ever need someone to wash dishes in exchange for food, I live in Dallas! Our family is planning a trip to Beirut for next year too, very excited!

  12. Joanne says:

    What a delicious and beautiful meal! Genius idea about the chard…I’m all about saving time and energy!

  13. Chiara says:

    My mouth is watering Joumana! That looks delicious! kisses…

  14. Joyti says:

    What a nice time-saving technique. And they look really delicious!

  15. Cherine says:

    A wonderful meal… Looks fabulous!

  16. Adelina says:

    I love your method – what a genius idea! YUM!

  17. Joan Nova says:

    Yes, sometimes you have to take tradition and modernize it! That looks like a delicious dinner that I wish I had in front of me!

  18. Dewi says:

    Delicious, and perfect for spring. I really like this Joumana.

  19. turkey's for life says:

    They look great. We’ve been buying a lot of swiss chard recently as it’s all over the markets at the moment. We’ve never thought of stuffing them before though and why not? We stuff cabbage and vine leaves. 🙂 I’m craving lamb chops now, too!

  20. domi says:

    Une très belle recette gourmande qui donne envie de se mettre à table…

  21. Peter says:

    I’m delighted to see any dish using lamb….this is a colourful and very Spring-like.

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