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Welcome to Romeo's Food Lady! This blog contains recipes for delicious vegetarian food. Most of these are not MY recipes, just a compilation of great veggie food I've found from all over the place, usually tweaked just a little. It's intended to be a reference you can consult again and again rather than a daily inspiration. After more than 25 years of being a vegetarian, I know what tastes good.
Romeo's Food Lady is named after my friend and cat, Romeo. Romeo is not a vegetarian, but his Food Lady is. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Stuffed Chard Leaves

Last night I finally tried a special-looking recipe I cut out of The Commercial Appeal (our daily newspaper) several weeks ago.  It turned out great!  It tasted good, and it looked beautiful.  Perfect for a dinner party.  As always, I made some modifications to Carol Borchardt's original recipe.  Let me share it with you!



Ingredients:
6 large leaves of Swiss chard
salt
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 small lemon, zested and juiced
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 c. couscous
1/4 c. shredded cheddar (optional - I used this, but I couldn't even tell it was there.  I won't use it again, because the dish seems like cleaner fuel for the body without the cheese.)
2 T. fresh oregano, chopped (optional)
non-stick cooking spray
1 14.5-oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste - optional)

Method:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.

Set a pot of generously salted water to boil.  The pot should be large enough to accommodate the Swiss chard leaves.  Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl.  Wash the Swiss chard leaves.  Once the water is boiling, use the stem of the first leaf as a handle to blanch the leaf in the boiling water for 5 seconds.  Immediately plunge into the ice water bath.  Set the leaf aside, and repeat with each leaf until all are done.

Using a sharp knife, cut the wide part of the stem out of each leaf using a V-shape, about 1 inch up from the bottom of the leaf.  Finely chop the section of the stems that were removed.  Set aside.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet that has a matching lid.  Add the onion and carrots to the warmed oil and sauté until the onion is transluscent (about 6 - 8 minutes).  Add half of the garlic to the onion and carrot and sauté for another 30 seconds.  Add 3/4 cup water, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt and pepper, to taste, and bring to a boil.  Stir in the couscous, cover the skillet with the lid, and remove from heat.  Let sit 5 minutes, then fluff the couscous with a fork.  Stir in the chopped chard stems and the cheese and/or oregano, if using.

Spray a small baking dish (large enough to hold the 6 chard rolls) with nonstick cooking spray.  Combine the fire-roasted tomatoes, the remaining minced garlic, and the crushed red pepper flakes in the baking dish.  Taking one leaf, put 1/6 of the couscous mixture in the center of the leaf.  Fold the V-cut side up over the filling, fold the 2 long sides of the leaf over the filling, and roll to the tip of the leaf.  Place the stuffed chard leaf, seam-side down, in the sauced baking dish.  Repeat with remaining leaves, then cover the baking dish with foil.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through, and serve.

I served this with salted black-beans and yeast rolls.  It made a beautiful presentation!

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