Lamb Stuffed Chard Leaves
I don't remember what inspired me to try this one, to be honest. I DO know that the idea comes from the relatively common "stuffed cabbage", which is often meat and other starchy things (such as rice). I can only assume I was looking to "change it up!" There was also a time when I went through a bit of a lamb phase, thinking I didn't offer enough tasty lamb dishes. I also tend to like throwing little dashes of nature's sweetness throughout some of my dishes. So, I can completely understand where I was coming from, but ... I sincerely do not recall that singular "light bulb moment".
In any event, these tasty little morsels can be made with any kind of ground meat. Perhaps a pork and veal mixture? Straight lamb? Beef? Sure! Why not?! In the end, it's ground meat with chopped raisins all wrapped in large chard leaves, placed in a casserole dish, topped with a quickie tomato sauce and baked! Ah ... the ethnic spice blend is North African in spirit.
On a final note, these are actually quite easy to throw together. The most challenging part is pre-cooking the leaves, but this only takes about 45 seconds. The rest is just throwing some ingredients into raw meat, wrapping leaves around the balls and then topping them with a quick raw tomato sauce. The whole thing cooks and melds together in the oven.
Bring it to your next pot luck! They spoon up nicely and are an interesting little dish!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Servings: 8 Servings
- 16 large leaves swiss chard
- 1 1/2 lb fresh tomatoes washed, dried and coursely chopped
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger minced or grated
- 4 each garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon ground and divided
- 1 tsp coriander seed ground and divided
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper ground and divided
- 2 lbs ground lamb
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
- 1/4 cup raisins chopped
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil. About 2 gallons of water will do.
Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Being careful not to tear the chard leaves, cut the rib from the center of each leaf.
Once the water begins to boil, add a nice sprinkle of salt to the water. Organize a large bowl filled with ice water and set it close by. Add the chard leaves to the boiling water. Allow them to boil until soft and pliable, about 45 to 60 seconds. Remove them from the boiling water (with a slotted spoon, or simply by pouring it into a strainer). Quickly plunge the leaves into the bowl of ice water and move them around until the leaves are sufficiently chilled. Dry the leaves on paper towels. They don't need to be super dry, but they shouldn't be water logged, either. Just "dry enough".
Mix together the tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger and olive oil with half of each: cinnamon, coriander and cayenne. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Mix well.
Place about one-fourth of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a standard casserole dish (13"x9").
In a bowl, mix the ground lamb, eggs, pine nuts, raisins and half of each: cinnamon, coriander and cayenne. Blend well with a little salt and pepper.
Place a chard leaf on the counter top and form a nice big sheet. Usually this means overlapping the two halves, forming a bit of a seam where the large rib used to be. Place a nice sized log of the ground lamb mixture about 2/3rds of the way down from the top of the sheet. Fold the bottom portion of the leaf over the meat, then fold the two side flaps over the meat. Finally, roll the whole meat log towards the tip of the remaining flap, leaving the tip of the flap on the bottom of the roll. Place the stuffed chard in the bottom of the casserole pan. Repeat this process until all 16 stuffed leaves are in the pan.
Cover the chard leaves with the remaining sauce and spread it evenly.
Cover the pan (with a lid or foil) and bake for about 50 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the stuffed chard reaches 155 F. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.
Serving: 8g | Calories: 484.27875kcal | Carbohydrates: 14.1825g | Protein: 24.485g | Fat: 37.09g | Fiber: 3.72375g