Swiss Chard Dolmas


  • 10 to 12 leaves red or green chard
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • Salt
  • 1 pound medium-fat ground lamb shoulder or breast
  • 6 tablespoons uncooked rice
  • 1 cup chopped ripe tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Unsalted butter (optional)
  • 1 to 1½ cups seasoned meat stock or water
  • Yogurt-Mint Sauce

How to make Swiss Chard Dolmas

  1. To blanch the chard, hold each leaf by the stem and dip into boiling water for 1 second; refresh under cold water. Drain the blanched leaves and reserve.
  2. Sprinkle the onions with salt and rub with one hand to soften.
  3. Put the onions, meat, rice, tomatoes, herbs, and spices in a bowl.
  4. Season with additional salt and some pepper and mix thoroughly with one hand.
  5. Put a chard leaf on the work surface, cut off the stem and the hard lower part of the artery that runs through the center of the leaf.
  6. Press down on any hard part of the leaf to make it pliable.
  7. With the smooth, shiny side down, stem end facing you, put some filling along the short edge of each leaf near you.
  8. Put in enough so that the finished rolled dolmas will be about ¾ inch in diameter.
  9. Fold over the two sides to seal the filling.
  10. Fold the stem edge to cover the filling and roll the whole thing toward the pointed edge like a jelly roll.
  11. Repeat this until all the filling is used.
  12. Place any unused leaves and the stems on the bottom of a shallow heavy pan. Place the dolmas seam sides down in layers. Dot with butter, if desired.
  13. Place a piece of parchment paper over to cover and an inverted plate to keep everything in place.
  14. Add meat stock or water and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Check liquid level to make sure there is enough. The finished dish should not have more than ½ cup liquid.
  15. Serve hot with Yogurt-Mint Sauce and crusty bread.
  16. ENJOY!

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