Friday, July 10, 2009

Stuffed Swiss Chard

I was inspired by this recipe that was posted on the cooking blog I wrote for last summer. But I didn't even click over to the real recipe, since the post mentions two fatal flaws: risotto (not my favorite), and a picky, time-consuming recipe. No thanks! So I just looked at the picture, and made my own quickie version!

Ingredients (to generously serve two people):

6 good-sized leaves swiss chard with no rips or holes
1 cup quinoa (or similar grain...I was out of quinoa so used Trader Joe's Harvest Blend, a mix of quinoa, garbanzo beans, orzo, and couscous. I've used quinoa in the past, though)
2 cups broth (veggie or chicken)
6 slices from a block of cheese (whatever variety you like...I used cheddar today, and I've used havarti in the past). The cheese should be about 1/8"-1/4" thick, and slightly less long than the size of the finished roll.
Additional broth, approximately 1 cup


Cook quinoa according to the package directions, except use the 2 cups of broth in place of plain water. (If you do decide to use the Trader Joe's Harvest Blend, their package directions are all wrong and drive me crazy. Just use 1 cup of the grains with 2 cups of liquid. Cook for 20 minutes. If you follow the package directions, you end up with a dry, crunchy partially cooked mess!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut part of the thick stem out of the center of the swiss chard leaves, about 1" to 2" into the leaf section. You can see in the picture that it's okay to leave the center stem in the main section of the leaf, just get rid of the really thick part near the bottom of the leaf. Make sure you DON'T cut all of the center stem out...then your leaf will be broken in half and you won't be able to make a roll!

Place one slice of cheese in the center of each leaf. Top with a scoop of quinoa. I use a wooden spoon to scoop the quinoa...about 1 good sized wooden spoon scoop.

Fold the end of the leaf that's divided where the portion of the stem was cut out on top of the quinoa. Fold the opposite end over. Then fold in the two sides, making a roll. Place seam side down in a baking dish.

Continue until all leaves have been rolled.

Add the extra broth to the baking dish, so it come about 1/2 way up the side of the rolls. Cover the dish and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.

The picture above is from before I baked it. Here's a picture after it came out of the oven:

You can kind of see in the back of the green leaf that some of the cheese started leaking out where I'd cut the center stem. That's the have to balance between removing the thick stem and having the filling leak! It's a fine line to walk :)

You also have to be careful removing this from the baking dish. I use two forks to support the bottoms. Get too wild, and the leaf will just come unrolled on the way to your plate and dump out all the filling! (Yes, that happened to me once, the first time I made these. As long as you're careful, though, they don't fall apart too easily.)

These are very yummy and easy to make. They do take almost an hour to prepare, but it's mostly sitting around waiting...the 20 minutes to make the quinoa and the 20 minutes to bake the rolls. The actual prep work is really quick, so I still think of this as an easy meal.

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