Monday, 22 September 2014

Exotic Parcels

Foglie di Bietola Ripiene con Couscous Speziata & Tahini
Stuffed Chard Leaves with Spicy Couscous & Tahini


These are crazy little parcels of yumminess- a whole mix of flavors and clashes of cultures in here- a little Arabian, a little Indian- even a little Sicilian- it's all in the mix and it's all kinds of wonderful!

I bought the beautiful, bright megenta-red chard on Saturday, as it was simply too pretty to be passed by- but living alone, I had to face up to the fact that it WAS a little bit too much for me to eat all by myself- and so I decided to use the leafy greens tonight to make a little something out of them first... and whilst I was at it, I decided to make them into something special.  


I made a filling for my tasty little rolls, using couscous, packed with the flavors of turmeric, tandoori, pine nuts and raisins, onion and ginger... wonderfully rich to contrast with the tender chard- and so much more fun than the usual chard recipes I know!


To make the filling for 6 large chard leaves, I needed 1 cup of couscous, 1 Spring onion, 2 tablespoons of raisins, about 1" of fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon of pine nuts, 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 tablespoon of tandoori powder. Oh- and some delicious Tahini to serve as a garnish and sauce.

Like little vegetarian hand-grenades, these little rolls are packed with explosive flavor... not in a hot and spicy way, but in a rich and pleasing way that I hope you will enjoy as well as I did!


I began by steaming the chard- in the 5 minutes it took to do that, I was able to get the couscous ready for the filling- now, is that great, or what?


Whilst the chard steamed, I gently toasted the pine nuts, and added the Spring onion, ginger and raisins with a little olive oil to brown slightly.


I then added the couscous, the turmeric and tandoori powder and a little salt and pepper, stirred them in well and let it toast for just a minute or so.


The great thing about couscous is that it takes care of itself- and will soak up all of the great flavors from the ingredients and spices whilst doing so!


By now the chard, which I took out of the saucepan after 5 minutes, was also cooled off... but a little rinse under the cold water tap will speed things up just a little- I do tend to be impatient sometimes... especially after a long work day!!!


Next- time to get a-rockin' and a-rollin'!

Lay out the leaves nice and flat and set out a couple of tablespoons of filling at the stalk end. I simply crushed the stalk a little flat using a spoon in order to get it soft enough to roll easily.


Fold over the end first- once or twice, depending on the size/length of the leaf.


Now, fold-in the sides on the left and the right, to keep everything inside...


... and then simply roll all the way to the end- easy!

Once your roll is finished, it will be a little moist still, so wring it out gently- this will help keep it nice and snug and in shape.


Then, simply, carefully place the finished rolls back onto your steam rack and re-heat them for 4-5 minutes before serving, so that they will be nice and hot and delicious! Sprinkle with a little salt in order to get the chard seasoned too- and you are almost ready to go!

Serve with a little tahini and a last sprinkle of Tandoori spice for a bust of flavor and color- and enjoy!


Elegant, delicious- and packed with color and flavor once you cut into them- these make for a great vegetarian dish that is anything but boring! But then again- I wouldn't ever do that to you now, would I?


 To good to be kept under-wraps! Discover what is inside and enjoy every second of it!

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