Those of you of Polish heritage, like me, will likely be familiar with gołąbki; they’re delicious stuffed cabbage rolls, often with meat and rice inside and covered in a tomato sauce.
This is a similar dish but vegetarian and made with swiss chard rather than cabbage leaves, and a sauce with an extra touch of sweetness from apple. It’s based on a recipe for “Baked Swiss Chard Rolls” given to me by a friend who often shares her home-grown chard.
I made more potatoes and a more rolls in total than the recipe called for.
The chard leaves are pretty substantial, so it wasn’t difficult to roll them.
As I had just oven-roasted tomatoes for salsa, I made fresh tomato purée in a blender.
Here’s the recipe as it was given to me:
- swiss chard, 1 bunch
- potatoes, 2 medium, boiled, peeled, and mashed
- onion, 1/2 cup, chopped
- cumin seeds, 1/4 t., toasted
- cayenne powder, 1/8 t.
- peanuts, 1 T., crushed, toasted
- basil, 1/4 t. dried
- salt, 1 t.
- tomato purée, 1 cup
- walnuts, 1/4 cup, coarsely chopped
- dates, 2 T., chopped
- apple, 1 small cooking, cored, grated, dressed with lemon
- sour cream, for garnish
- tomato wedges (optional)
- Select 6 large, perfect chard leaves. Trim off all but 1/2 inch of the stem. Wash the leaves well.
- In a large saucepan, bring 6-8 cups of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Push the leaves gently down into the boiling water and cook uncovered until limp, 1-2 minutes.
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 375° F.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the mashed potato, onion, cumin, cayenne, peanuts, dried herbs and 1/2 t. salt. Mix well.
- Divide the mixture among the chard leaves, roll up the leaves, tuck in the ends to enclose stuffing. Place seam-side down in a 3-quart (13 x 9″) baking dish.
- Combine the tomato purée, walnuts, dates, apple, and remaining 1/2 t. salt. Stir well and pour over the chard rolls to moisten the entire surface. Cover the pan and bake until the filling is hot – about 15 minutes. Transfer to a warmed serving dish. Top with sour cream and garnish with tomato wedges (if desired.)
I liked this vegetarian recipe that was amenable to modifications (e.g., I used slivered almond and pine nuts, and puréed the apple into the sauce rather than grating it). Compared to typical gołąbki, the swiss chard (instead of cabbage) leaves are somewhat tough to eat with just a fork. Be sure to cook the chard leaves until tender. I also baked these for more than double the time suggested, just be careful not to allow the sauce to burn.