I should have seen this coming. I left the garden gate open for one night and BAM the deer ate the tops off my swiss chard. I was letting those leaves grow really big and fleshy to make my stuffed chard. Now I guess I’ll have to fashion some recipe that just uses the stems. And wash off the deer spit before using.
A few years ago, I tried to make sushi using chard leaves instead of nori. It was a complete failure, but what emerged was this recipe for stuffed chard.
This recipe makes 8 chard rolls (4 servings) stuffed with creamy rice.
- 8 large (about a foot long) pieces of Swiss chard with stems and leaves
- 8 slices of ham
- 8 slices of provolone cheese
- 4 cups cooked rice
- 4 tender aromatics (ramps, green onions or green garlic)
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup cream
- Salt and Pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
Cook the rice – You’ll have to look elsewhere for directions because I use my rice cooker.
Prepare the vegetables. Wash the chard well and dry in the salad spinner. Lay each piece on the cutting board and make a V shaped cut to remove the stem (See picture). Dice the stems. Set the leaves aside. Similarly, wash and dry the aromatics, and dice the leaves and stems.
Melt 2 tbsp butter in a small skillet or saucepot over medium heat. Sauteé the chard stems and aromatics until soft.
Off the heat, add rice to the sauteed greens, along with an additional 2 tbsp butter and cream. Mix well using a folding motion (to not break the rice grains) until the rice absorbs the additional fat and moisture. The rice should stick together, not be separate grains. (Think sushi rice, rather than Uncle Ben’s.) Add pepper and salt. Don’t skimp on the salt or else the rice will taste boring.
Assemble the Stuffed Chard:
If your chard is very fresh and crisp, like in the picture above, microwave each leaf for 5 to 10 seconds to soften it and make it easier to roll.
Lay the chard leaf on your work surface and close the hole from the stem by crossing over the two “lobes” that were on either side of the stem. Lay a slice of provolone centered on the leaf. Lay a slice of ham centered on the chard leaf. Using an ice cream scoop, #6 disher or 1/2 cup measure, mound 1/2 cup of rice on the center of the provolone. Starting with the chard, gently roll the chard, ham and provolone around the rice. Add to a 9×9″ glass baking dish with the seam side down. If the roll is wider than about 5″, tuck the ends into the rice.
Repeat these rolls, arranging them 2 across in 4 rows in the glass baking dish. Add 1/2 cup white wine to the baking dish. You can add 2 tbsp melted butter if you’re not watching calories. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 8 minutes on high, then for 8 minutes on 50% power.
Optional: If you really like cheese, take the dish out of the microwave, top with cheese and broil it (6″ from the broiler) for 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and browning.
Serve two rolls per serving, topping with liquid from the bottom of the dish as a sauce.