Swiss Chard Purses


Swiss chard purses (from Gourmet Magazine November 2004)

Makes 10-12 servings

5 cups of preferred filling, examples: just under cooked and wet wild rice, stuffing mixture extra moist or before baking, polenta or mashed potatoes

2 large leeks, outer leaves removed and cut length wise into 25 strips (use remaining part of leeks, chopped, in your stuffing)

2 lb green Swiss chard leaves, stems trimmed flush with leaves

11/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ cup low sodium chicken broth

Prepare leek ribbons and shard leaves:
• Wash leek strips, then blanch in a large pot of boiling water, uncovered for 2 minutes and transfer with tongs to a bowl of ice water (reserve water in pot).Transfer to a colander and drain well, them transfer to paper towels and pat dry.
• Blanch chard leaves in water just until wilted, about 30 seconds, and transfer with a slotted spoon to ice water to cool.  Drain chard leaves in colander.

Make Purses:
• Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350° F.
• Spread 1 chard leaf on a work surface, using smaller leaves to patch any holes if necessary.  Chard leaf wrapper should be about 8 by 5 inches (if it’s smaller, overlap several small leaves to form a larger wrapper; don’t worry if wrapper is larger than 8 by 5).  Mound ¼ cup of stuffing in center, then gather chard up over filling to form a purse and tie closed with a leek strip. (You have extra strips in case some break.)  Make 19 more purses the same manner.
• Oil a 3-quart gratin or shallow baking dish.  Stand purses upright in dish and drizzle with olive oil. Add broth to dish and cover purses with a sheet of wax paper or parchment, then loosely cover with foil.  Bake purses until stuffing is warmed through (cut one open on the bottom to check), 35 to 40 minutes.

If working ahead:
• Make your preferred stuffing 2 days ahead, cool and chill.
• Purses can be assembled (but not baked) two days ahead and chilled in baking dish (without broth), covered.  Bring to room temperature, then add broth before baking.

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