Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stuffed Swiss Chard with Simple Tomato Sauce

I had the day off yesterday and was able to borrow a car to make a huge grocery run. This recipe came from the Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics. Her recipes are all great, however this turned out to be pretty labor intensive/time consuming. The recipes don't have preparation times and if you make homemade bread crumbs, fresh tomato sauce, steam rice, toast the nuts, and all that, it ends up taking a while. So anyway, this was a good thing to work on in little steps throughout the day while doing other things. I slightly changed the recipes proportions because the book says it serves 4 to 6 and I didn't want to make that much. Also, if you wanted to "veganize" the recipe, you could sub out the cheese for soft tofu.

Stuffed Swiss Chard
3 large bunches Swiss chard
Coarse salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 small leeks, white and pale-green parts only, trimmed, finely chopped, and well washed
6 medium scallions, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced
Freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (I used coarsely chopped almonds)
3 cups cooked short-grain brown rice
1 3/4 cups finely grated aged provolone (I used parmigiano-reggiano)
6 tablespoons fresh ricotta cheese
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
Fresh Tomato Sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Choose 12 large chard leaves (each should be about 10 inches long and 5 inches wide); set aside. Coarsely chop enough of the remaining leaves to make 4 1/2 cups. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add and pinch of salt. Blanch whole leaves, 1 at a time, until tender and bright green, about 5 seconds. Lay flat on a baking sheet lined with paper towel to drain. (I used several baking sheets because I wanted the leaves to and not continue cooking in a big pile)

2. Melt butter with oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, scallions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add chopped chard, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chard has wilted, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a medium bowl, add nuts; let stand until cool. Stir in rice, cheeses, and bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Place a blanched leaf facedown on a work surface. Cut out the thickest part o the stalk, about one-third of the way up leaf; slightly overlap the cut ends. Spoon 1 cup (I didn't measure this but probably used closer to 1/2- 3/4 cup filling) filling about one-third of the way up leaf. Fold bottom of leaf over completely, creating a 3 x 2 inch bundle (Like a little burrito!). Repeat with remaining leaves and filling.

4. Transfer to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish (I lightly oiled mine). Tent with foil. Bake until heated through, about 15 minutes. Spoon warm sauce onto plates (Bonus for using warm plates!); serve 2-3 bundles per plate.

Fresh Tomato Sauce
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced (I used 2)
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped (I used a 28 oz can of plum tomatoes)
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Heat oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes (and the juices from the can), salt, and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft, about 10 minutes.

2. Remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes. Pass the the medium disk of a food mill (I just put about 3/4 of the sauce in the blender). The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat before serving.

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