Packaging up the chard

cuttings from my" front chard "garden

My chard grows to great height and girth. I never harvest the plants until I have warning of imminent frost, since it is part of my decorative garden and people enjoy observing the plant’s beauty. Harvesting a few leaves every now and again encourages new growth and as the plants are so lush, no one misses them. [Note to passersby, do not pick! The plants are for the visual enjoyment of everyone!]

As the weather cools, here is a creation that uses just a few chard leaves.

Packages of Chard in Soup

Ingredients:  

As many chard leaves as the amount of packages desired or as many as you have the patience to stuff 

Ground turkey, dark meat

Fresh peeled and chopped water chestnuts

Chopped fresh ginger root

Chopped chives and fresh cilantro

Method:

Cut the stems of the chard from the leaf by making a vee shape where the stems meet the chard. Slice the stems and flash boil and drain, reserving them as garnish for the soup in the final assembly of the dish. Place the chard leaves in boiling water for about a minute. The goal is to have the leaves pliant enough to roll but not be cooked. Refresh and cool them while preparing stuffing.

Mix the turkey with the water chestnuts and chopped ginger. For a half a pound of meat I used 4 water chestnuts and about an inch cube of ginger root. Add chopped chives to taste and a little chopped fresh cilantro.

Lay the leaves on a flat surface. Place on each leaf place the meat mixture in a small roundish patty. How much stuffing you use for each will depend on the size of the leaf.

Enclose the meat by first folding in the sides and then continue by rolling the leaf from bottom to top. You should have a fairly neat package. Refrigerate while you make the soup or preferably make the soup first!

The chicken soup : By giving you this recipe I am divulging one of my most useful culinary inventions. It is not instant but fast and no hands are ever dirtied in the making of it. No refrigeration of the soup is required to skim off the fat because there is hardly any.
Method : Buy 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs and a bag of those sham baby carrots. You can use more chicken and carrots for more soup.Unwrap the thighs and place  them in the soup pot along with the package of carrots. Add one bay leaf and water to cover by twice the height of the chicken and  carrots. Simmer until the thighs are cooked and the carrots are soft. Add salt to taste and simmer a little longer. Add water, as necessary, as the soup cooks. I have had a bay leaf tree growing in my kitchen for many years.It requires very little care, just the occasional watering and provides a fresh herb during the long Winter months.
Bay leaf tree in my kitchen
Final assembly of the soup: Place about an inch and a half of soup in a saucepan and place the chard packages in it. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Heat the rest of the soup in the meantime.
When the chard packages are cooked place them in individual soup bowls.
Ladle hot soup over them and garnish with sliced chard stems or a cilantro sprig.  Serve 

soup with chard packets garnished with sliced stems

soup with coriander flower garnish

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