Saturday, 13 June 2015

Chard & Parcel!

Involtini di Bietola, Patate, Pomodoro Secco & Formaggio Blu
Swiss Chard, Potato, Sun-Dried Tomato & Blue Cheese Parcels


Lovely, colorful, Swiss chard! Always irresistible when I see at at the market, whether it be the regular white variety, or red, violet, orange or yellow... It always looks great and I always end up buying it!

And then, each and every time, the question is... How shall I prepare it!?!!

It is of course excellent as a regular side dish, boiled and fried with a little garlic, onion and olive oil, but it can also be used in so many other ways... And yes, as you can see here.... Those leaves are excellent for filling!

I tried something simple this evening- well, something that used simple ingredients in any case, haha! No, seriously, although these take a little work, it is easy work and the result is tasty as well as pretty... And after all, we want to have a little fun in the kitchen and do something to be proud of every now and again, right? 


I made 5 little parcels from 1 small, tender head of Swiss chard, 3 small potatoes, 1 onion, 4 halves of sun-dried tomato, 1 small piece of blue cheese and a little salt, pepper and olive oil. As a juicy and fruity accompaniment, I added a little sweetened tomato on the side... It doesn't take much to make something elegant and delicious!

Except for a little work... So let's get started!


This is not the kind of thing that I suggest you make for an everyday meal... But for a special occasion dinner, this would make a lovely entree! the thing is... What will you make to top this as a a main course!?! haha!


Begin by cutting away the nicest, intact leaves and chop up the stems.

Finely chop the onion and sun-dried tomatoes and cut the tomato into slices. At this point, pop those potatoes into a pot and start them boiling... A little multi-tasking is required here, but those potatoes will take care of themselves over the next 20 minutes, whilst you prepare the rest.

Begin by frying the onion and the chard together in a little olive oil, until the onion becomes translucent.


Next, add enough boiling water to cover the bottom of the pan... And to create a lot of steam!


Pop your chard leaves into a steam rack and set this on top of the pan if you have one... That is what I did and it not only saves time, but also ensures that the leaves do not get damaged at all whilst they cook.

Alternatively you can briefly blanche the leaves in boiling water, just 2-3 minutes.

In either case, as soon as they are cooked, rinse the chard leaves under cold water to stop the cooking process. I know most cook books tell you that you need ice cubes, but I find that cold water from the tap works just fine.


By now the potatoes will be done and you can mash them and add the blue cheese and sun-dried tomatoes... Do it whilst the potatoes are hot and the cheese will melt easily and blend excellently into the mix. The tomatoes and cheese add all of the salt and more to the potatoes- plenty to season the chard as well.


One thing you will need though, is plenty of freshly ground black pepper! Nutmeg would be a good addition too... If you happen to have some that is!

Next, add the cooked chard and onion and stir them in with the potatoes too... And voila! You are now finished "rocking" your filling... And can get ready to roll!


Simply place a couple of tablespoons of filling at the stalk end of the chard leaf.


Fold over the end, snugly, fold over the left and right sides of the leaf over the top and simply roll shut, all the way to the end.

Once you have the rolls ready, turn on the oven to get it hot and ready, then lay out the tomato slices in a baking dish. Sprinkle with a little salt and sugar and grind generously with black pepper.


Set the chard rolls on top, add a drizzle of olive oil and bake at 170 C for 15-20 minutes.


And there they are after 20 minutes, hot, hot, hot, slightly crispy on the outside and moist and wonderful on the inside... With a little, juicy, sweet tomato on the side, perfect!

But of course the real proof is in the tasting!

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