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Stuffed Swiss Chard redux

Swiss chard is one of my favorite vegetables — and the “queen of greens” has been prolific in gardens this year. It’s easy to grow and easy to find in farmer’s markets and in supermarkets too. Over the years, I’ve posted many swiss chard recipes, including two other stuffed renditions — one stuffed with ground turkey (here) and one stuffed with brown rice and ground beef (here). This time, however, I wanted to use up some fregola (similar to Israeli couscous) in the pantry.
I mixed it with some ground beef, minced red pepper, onion, an egg, mozzarella cheese and seasonings.
In order to stuff the swiss chard, you need to remove the stalk (don’t throw them out, there’s another recipe coming at the end for those stalks).
Boil the leaves for a couple of minutes to soften them, then drain them on paper towels.
Place about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the filling over the leaves and roll up.
They’re easy to freeze at this point, or cook right away, covered with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. If you really want to gild the lily, sprinkle with more mozzarella.
Wait a few minutes after they come out of the oven, since they’re piping hot.
OK, so now what to do with those swiss chard stalks? Well, I’ve given you a couple of different recipes in the past for fritters – here and here. But this time, it’s a swiss chard stalk gratin, and it’s simple to put together. First, chop the stalks into large pieces and boil for five minutes or until tender.
Then place in a casserole that’s been oiled, and top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs, a scattering of thyme and a pat of butter.
 Bake at high temperature for 20 minutes to 1/2 hour or until browned.
 It’s like having a whole new vegetable.


Stuffed Swiss Chard
1 cup fregola, cooked in water according to package, then cooled
1/4 cup onion, minced
4 T. olive oil
1/4 cup diced red pepper
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten with a fork
1 pound ground beef
minced parsley
salt, pepper to taste
tomato sauce
parmesan cheese
Sauté the onion and red pepper in 2 T. of the olive oil until softened. Remove and set aside in a bowl. With the remaining olive oil, cook the ground beef in a skillet. Drain off any fat. Place the meat in a bowl with the cooked onion and pepper. Add the parsley, salt and pepper, and egg. Mix together and place a little of the mixture on a leaf of the swiss chard. Roll up and place in a greased, ovenproof casserole. Cover with tomato sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.
Swiss Chalk Stalk Gratin
swiss chalk stalks
parmesan cheese
bread crumbs
fresh thyme
salt, pepper to taste
Boil the swiss chard stalks for five minutes, or until softened. Drain and place in a greased, oven-proof casserole. Mix 2 parts parmesan cheese to one part bread crumbs. Season with fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the swiss chard stalks and top with a pat of butter. Place in a 425 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Swiss Chard Stalk Ricotta Fritters

 It’s always fun to cook with my dad, a 91 year-young guy who’s got a zest for life and the energy to go with it that outpaces people half his age. He’s right at home in the kitchen and in the garden, where he grows a variety of vegetables including Swiss chard.  A couple of weeks ago when he visited, I put him to work using some of the Swiss chard from my garden, thinking of the Swiss chard stalk fritters my mom used to make when she was alive. That delicious recipe is here. This time, however, I wanted to incorporate some ricotta that was in the fridge waiting for a home. Why not make fritters with it, I thought? My dad was eager to help out. 

Later, we moved outdoors to a side burner on the grill to fry the little munchies and keep the kitchen from overheating on a hot day.
 Alongside an Italian tuna sandwich, they made a great lunch. They’d also be a wonderful appetizer or side dish.

Swiss Chard stalk Ricotta Fritters
printable recipe here

6 to 8 large Swiss chard stalks (about 1 cup), cut into small pieces (1/2″ inch)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup pecorino or parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
salt, pepper
2 T. fresh thyme
3/4 cup flour

Boil the swiss chard stalks in water until almost tender, about five minutes. Drain and cool. Place the Swiss chard stalks in a mixing bowl and add the remainder of the ingredients, mixing everything well. It should be thick and sticky.
Drop by large spoonfuls into a skillet where you have heated up some cooking oil. There should be enough oil to reach the top of the fritters when you drop them in. Fry over medium high heat, turning once until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with more salt.