Stuffed vegetables are much loved by Jews all over the Middle and Near East from Israel to Azerbaijan. This recipe originally comes from Aleppo, Syria, where it is usually served as part of a mezze. The addition of pomegranate molasses gives it a wonderful sweet-sour flavor.
- 1bunch Swiss chard leaves
- 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1medium finely chopped onion
- 1cup cooked basmati rice
- handful of finely chopped flat leaf parsley, stalks removed
- 2tbsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 3tbsp currants
- 3tbsp pine nuts
- ¼tsp allspice
- ¼tsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
- ¼tsp ground cardamom
- 1to 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses, to taste
- black pepper
- ½cup boiling water
Yield: 4 servings
- Step 1
Wash the Swiss chard, then cut away the thick stems. You can save them for a soup or stew. Blanch the leaves in boiling water for 1 minute until wilted, then drain and set aside.
- Step 2
To make the filling, heat half the olive oil in a frying pan and add the onion. Cook over a moderate heat until it is tender and starting to turn golden. Remove from the heat.
- Step 3
Place the cooked rice in a mixing bowl and add the fried onion, herbs, currants, pine nuts, and spices and mix well. Stir in half the pomegranate molasses and season with salt and black pepper.
- Step 4
Place 2 tablespoonfuls of the filling on each Swiss chard leaf, fold over the sides, then roll up like a cigar. Arrange the stuffed Swiss chard leaves side by side in the bottom of a well-oiled shallow baking dish and drizzle over the remaining olive oil. Pour in the remaining pomegranate molasses dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water. Cover with tin foil, then bake in a preheated oven at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until the Swiss chard rolls are heated through, the leaves are tender, and the sauce is reduced. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.