Chard Dolmah

Chard or Swiss Chard, is a leaf vegetable that has red or white stalks. Very rich in vitamins and minerals which makes it a very powerful vegetable.  It is used in salads, soups and in Iraq it is used in Dolmah.

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What is Dolmah ? The origins of the word is Turkish for ‘to be filled’. Dolman is the stuffing of vegetables with rice and spices and mince meat is optional. The vegetables are cooked in tightly packed manner so the stuffing doesn’t fall out.

Dolmah is usually stuffed vine leaves, but you have stuffed onions, bell peppers, aubergine, courgettes, carrots and tomato. And of course chard, which is used most commonly in Iraq.  I love Dolmah and I have made it few times with meat and without, but this is the first time I cook with chard ! I hope it taste similarity the one is tasted in Iraq. I think it’s close enough and had empty plates !

I am adding onions in this recipe as I have too much stuffing and onions in the kitchen. You can leave the onions out, or use other vegetables. You just need to core them out.

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NOTE: I am using a rice cooker to cook the dolman. This is because it takes care of itself and it is a fuss free way. You can cook  the dolman on a hob on medium heat till half the water is evaporated from the pot. Then let the pot simmer for few minutes till all the water has evaporated. To serve you must turn the pot upside down on a plate.

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Ingredients

1 large chard

3 large white onions

2 large potatoes

Stuffing

1 cup rice

1 cup mince meat

3 garlic cloves

1/4 bunch of parsley

1 tomato

1 table spoon of tomato paste/ puree

1 teaspoon of mix spices

seasoning

lemon

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (optional)

Sauce

3/4 cup of water

optional 2 tablespoon tomato sauce.

Method

Step 1-Wash the rice few times and leave to soak for 10 min then drain.

Step 2- Peal the potatoes and chop into discs then arrange them in an slightly oiled pot.

Step 3- Cut the tomato and parsley finally. Grate the garlic. Mix them into a bowl of rice and add all the stuffing together. Add a squees of half a lemon. mix well and leave to soak for 5 minutes.

Step4- Cut the onion ends off  but still keeping the onion integrated. Then make a slit across the onion till you reach half way. Place the onions into a boiling pan till onion starts to open. Take the lions out and lightly wash in cold water and let it cool.

Step 5- Wash the chard and cut ends off. Place the chard in the same boiled water of the onion and let it cook for 1 min. Take the chard out and rise in cold water carefully. The chard should be soft enough to roll.

Step 6- Once the chard is cooled, place on a mat and get a small amount of stuffing and place at the tip of the chard leaf. Then bring the sides of the leave to the centre then start to roll towards the stalk. Roll tightly but not to strong so as the leave will tear. Place each stuffed chard leaf in the pan onto of the potato. If you have some chard stalk and broken leaves place at the bottom of the pan.

Step 7- Open the onions and place the stuffing at one and and roll tightly. Place in the pan closely to other stuffed onions or chard.

Step 8- Once all the chard and onions are tightly packed together add a small amount of pomegranate molasses (this is not necessary if you don’t like it) then add a plate on top of the vegetables. This is so a heavy weight is placed on top and the vegetables so they don’t move an open up. I used 2 heavy small plates.

Step 9- Pour into the pot 3/4 cup of water that I added 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (I had some left over you don’t have to add it) and cook till half of the water has evaporated then leave to simmer till it is almost dry. I am using a rice cooker so it will cook and simmer by itself.

Step 10- Once you see the dolman is cooked (remove the plate on top and check by taking it out) take a serving place and place onto of the pot. Carefully turn the pot over into plate and serve hot.  The potatoes were used to serve as a barrier not to burn the chard, plus it is decorative and delicious.

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