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A fews weeks ago, a friend of ours bought some swiss chard at the Wakefield Farmers Market. She figured she would be able to find a recipe. But as often happens, she ended up throwing it away. So, this weekend we went to the Market with the task of getting some swiss chard and preparing a recipe Meg had seen on Giada at Home on Food Network.
The recipe it a bit labor intensive, but according to Meg, the results were “the best recipe we have made in a while.” And having the leftovers tonight for dinner as part of our Tour of Italy small plate dinner, I have to say, it was a very delicious recipe.
I have broken the recipe down into a few steps, since there are some things that can be prepared ahead of time and then incorporated into the recipe.
Step One: Prepare the brown rice and lentils
Prepare 2 cups of cooked brown rice according to the instructions on your rice package. I bought a large bag of Carolina long grain brown rice. I cooked it in vegetable stock for 45 minutes until it was soft and had absorbed the stock.
To prepare a cup of green lentils, I simply brought some vegetable stock and water to a boil, and tossed in the lentils. I then turned off the heat, put a cover on the pot and let it sit on the stove for about 20 minutes. I drained the lentils and they were ready to use.
Step Two: Prepare the filling
2 cups of cooked brown rice
1 cup of chopped baby arugula (I used a bagged salad mix and chopped it up)
4 oz of goat cheese (the original recipe called for 8 oz, but we are cutting back our dairy, and it still turns out super creamy)
1 cup of cooked lentils
1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil (original recipe called for 1/4 cup, but why not cut a little fat out)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix to combine.
Step Three: Make the rolls
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Take the swiss chard leaves and remove most of the spine, which is quite tough. This is a laborious task, but if you fold the leaves in half, you can cut along the spine, just leave enough at the top to keep the leaf in one piece. Drop the leaves into salted boiling water for a couple of seconds, this makes the leaves a little more pliable for rolling. Place the boiled leaves on a cutting board.
Pour some tomato sauce into the bottom of a baking dish (I used Emirle Lagasse’s marinara sauce, but any sauce will do). Lay a leaf out on the cutting board and place a large spoonful of the filling near the middle of the leaf. Roll the leaf up and place it seam down in the sauce. Repeat until you have made all of your rolls. Top the rolls with additional sauce, and then fresh grated Parmesan cheese (about a 1/4 of a cup). Place in the oven at 400F and bake for 40-45 minutes, until cheese is melted and the sauce is just bubbling on the edges.
The total time to make the meal was about 2 hours, but I prepared the rice and lentils at halftime of the Patriots game, just made sure to set the timer on the stove so I didn’t forget about everything. The preparation of the leaves and rolling the rolls up was about 15-20 minutes. But they are delicious, certainly worth the effort. Give them a try, and let us know what you think.