6 rainbow chard stalks and leaves
3/4 cup brown rice
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock/ bouillon
2 shallots, minced
2 handfuls raisins or sultanas
1 pinch saffron strands
Salt and pepper
- Wash your chard, and then cut out the stalks from the leaves like so. Slice the stalks thinly width-wise. Reserve the leaves.
- Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a deep sauté pan on medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until starting to soften (2-3 minutes). Add the chopped chard stalks to the pan, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes.
- Meanwhile, rinse the rice briefly. You don't want to remove all the starch, else the grains will be too separate and refuse to form a nice filling for your parcels. Add the drained rice to the sauté pan, and stir to coat all the grains of rice in the oil and cooking juices.
- Juice and zest one lemon. Add the pinch of saffron strands to the juice in a small bowl. Add the zest to the rice and vegetable mixture and stir.
- Pour 1.5 cups stock into the pan. Then pour in the saffronned lemon juice, add the raisins, and stir. Bring to a boil, stir once more, lower heat, and cover. Cook, covered apart from the occasional stir, until the rice is tender - about 35-45 minutes, depending on your rice's willingness to get cooked.
- While the rice cooks, blanch your chard leaves. Put a small pot of water on to boil. When boiling, drop in the chard leaves one by one, leaving each submerged for 30 seconds. It's better to blanch them one by one, to keep a track of time. Drain the leaves. They can drain together without sticking to each other, which is a nice surprise.
- The rice should be cooked by now. If it looks too wet, cook a little longer uncovered. If it dries out before fully cooked, add a little more stock. Let the rice cool before filling the parcels. To assemble, just bundle a couple of tablespoons of rice into the centre of each leaf, and fold up.
- Place the parcels in an oven-proof dish. Add a cup or so of stock to the dish. Cook for 15 minutes at 180°C.
- Serve with a little of the stock, a wee grating of lemon zest, and a squiggle of olive oil poured over the top.