Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chard Wraps Recipe

Over the last 6 weeks or so, I've had some of the oddest food cravings.  It's not the kind of craving like the intense desire for eating that last piece of cake, or chocolate brownies.  It's more extreme than that.

No, I do not have a bun in the oven.

Often hard to pin down exactly what the food is my body wants, the craving can last for months or years until I eat what it demands.  Whereas a regular sweet tooth craving will go away in a few hours/days.  Usually these extreme cravings are for foods I don't even like.  For example, last spring it was for oysters.

Right now, my body is demanding several things:  Almonds top the list, followed closely by anchovies.  Also high on the list are milk products (but surprisingly not cheese), swiss chard, oats, fish sauce and chickpeas.  I'm sure there must be some diagnostic element to all these strange cravings.  Most of these foods are high in calcium and the kind of oils that I don't normally get in my diet.  None of them are particularly unhealthy, so I've added them into my diet, in moderation.

As much as I want to eat chard, I only know a few recipes and they are getting a bit repetitive.  So I asked my friend for ideas.  Here's what his family makes with chard.

Chard Wraps

1 cup rice, soaked but not cooked
chard leaves (quantity depends on size of leaves)
onion, tomato, herbs, meat... whatever you think goes well with this.  I used shallots, dried tomatoes and thyme.
3 cups of broth of your choosing, I like chicken broth.

  • Wash and soak the rice for at least an hour (upto 24 hours).  Rinse and drain.
  • chop up the onion, tomato, whatever you want in the filler, very fine.  Combine with the rice, put to one side.
  • If you haven't already, trim off the stocks from the chard, reserve the stocks for soup or something else.  If the leaves are very large, chop them into two or four pieces.  Blanch for about 1 minute by boiling some water in a very large pot, submerge the leaves, remove from water and drain.
  • slice a potato and put it in the bottom of a large pan.
  • Wrap about 1 Tbs of rice mix in each leaf.

  • Place each wrapped chard leaf in the pan on top of the potatoes.  Make certain they are tightly packed together or it will all fall apart.

  • Place a plate on top of the wraps to hold them down and add broth.
  • Bring to boil and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes (depending on kind of rice, brown rice usually takes longer).  Serve hot or cold.

This is an affordable dish and healthy dish.  You can add different fillers to the rice to accommodate allergies.  If you use vegetable broth and no meat in the filling, this is Vegan Friendly. 

I deliberately left the instructions vague as to how much of what you put in the filling.  I think the joy of this meal is that you use what is on hand, and adapt it to different dietary needs.

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