Swiss Chard Dolmades





  • Saute rice/orzo and garlic in butter for 1 minute, add almonds.
  • Stir just until almonds become a bit brown.
  • Turn off heat, stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Brown lamb and garlic in olive oil, add rice and stir just until rice begins to brown.
  • Turn off heat, stir in remaining ingredients.
  • 3 cups canned tomato juice Lemon wedges Have both the fillings prepared and ready to go.
  • In a 9X11" baking dish or large wide-bottomed stewing pot, pour 3/4 cup tomato juice, or enough to cover the bottom of the dish about 1/2" deep.
  • Rinse chard leaves and cut off any stem.
  • Stack chard leaves in a steamer basket or metal colander over a large kettle of boiling water: cover.
  • Allow leaves to steam 3-4 minutes or until soft and pliable but still quite green.
  • After 2 minutes of steaming you can use two spatulas to turn the whole stack of leaves over to allow the "less cooked" ones on the top to steam more thoroughly.
  • Remove chard leaves to a plate. Separate them and allow them to cool so they will be easier to handle. Flatten a chard leaf on the working surface and place about 2 tablespoons of chosen filling 1/2 inch above the bottom stem end.
  • Fold each side over the filling, then roll up from the stem end "burrito style", ending with the top of the leaf folded over the roll.
  • Place the dolmade "leaf-tip-side-down" in the tomato juice in the prepared pan.
  • You should be able to see the roll, but not any of the seam, which should be underneath.
  • I differentiate the vegetarian and meat dolmades by placing a sliver of carrot or red pepper on top of the vegetarian ones.
  • Repeat with all of the remaining leaves.
  • If you tear a leaf and can't use it or have extra filling left over, you can sprinkle it into the tomato juice when you bake the dish and your sauce will be all the more delicious.
  • Pour remaining tomato juice over the dolmades.
  • Two cooking methods: Bake in a moderate 350 degree oven for 35 minutes on the top shelf, uncovered.
  • or Simmer in a large stew pot on top of the stove. If you choose this method, weight the dolmades down by placing a plate on top of them and then putting something heavy (i.e. a heavy coffee mug or two) on top of the plate. Simmer at low-medium heat on stove top for 20-25 minutes.
  • This method produces a more compact dolmade that holds together better when you serve it. Important: When you take them from the oven or turn off the stove, let them sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.
  • They are much less likely to fall apart this way.
  • Serve 4 dolmades per guest with lemon wedges to squeeze over.
  • They are delicious cold or room temperature as well.
  • Suggested accompaniments: Avegolemo soup, tossed salad with black olives and feta cheese, fresh steamed artichokes, garlic bread.