Monday, April 7, 2014

moroccan spiced turkey stuffed chard rolls in tomato sauce

The turkey stuffing in this savory dish, filled with nice, warm spices and paired with sweet sultanas, stays perfectly moist and tender wrapped in each neat, little chard leaf package.   Served over simple saffron rice, the meal brings one last hooray of comfort food before things start to really heat up here in the South.  

This  year's garden brought chard (both Bright Lights and Red) that was beautiful and abundant. We've eaten quite a bit of this delicate green throughout the Winter and early Spring here in Texas. 

Though most "rolls" require a quick blanching of the leaves in salted boiling water, I find that chard leaves are pliable enough to skip this step, once you remove most of the tougher stem.  Reserve the stem, and finely chop to add to your sauce. While your sauce simmers, there's time to prepare the filling for the chard rolls. 

Though it seems like a lot of notes that goes into this mix, it's really a perfect blending of spices often found in Moroccan cuisine. And, you'll likely have most in your pantry.  If you're missing one or two, don't sweat it.  If you don't have turmeric, you can add a little curry powder instead.

For the filling, combine ingredients in a bowl and gently mix by hand, being careful not to overwork the meat.  

A couple of tablespoons of the turkey filling in each leaf rolled up and tied with butcher's twine yields pretty green chard packages. 

By this time, your sauce will have simmered and be ready for the rolls.  

Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes, turning the rolls a few times during the process.  Serve over a simple saffron rice, and garnish with parsley and mint if desired. 

moroccan spiced turkey stuffed chard rolls in tomato sauce

1 large bunch chard leaves, thick stems removed, finely chopped and reserved.

For meatball filling:
1 pound ground turkey
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
handful chopped parsley
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/3 c whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/4 cup sultanas or currants

spice mix:
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp ginger

For sauce:
2 Tbl olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped 
reserved chard stem 
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp fennel seed
zest of one small orange
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
sea salt to taste

Saffron Rice and parsley and mint for garnish

Gently combine the ingredients for the turkey filling in a bowl, being careful not to overwork the mixture and set aside.

For the sauce, heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.  Add onion and chard stem and saute until softened. Add garlic and cook one minute more.  Lower the heat and add tomatoes, cinnamon stick, cumin, corriander, orange zest, red pepper and season with salt.  Let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes.  While your sauce simmer, prepare the chard rolls. 

Lay a chard leaf flat on a cutting board and place 2 generous tablespoons of the turkey mixture in the middle of the leaf. Roll up, tucking sides as you go, and tie with butcher's twine.

Once your sauce has simmered and your chard roles are prepared, add them to the sauce, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, gently turning a couple of times during the process. 

Serve over a bed or saffron rice and garnish with parsley and mint. 

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