Forget cabbage: Stuffed chard leaves, smoked fish and horseradish yoghurt sauce

June  4, 2021
0 Ratings
Photo by marxoign
  • Prep time 40 hours
  • Cook time 20 hours
  • serves 2
Author Notes

I've always loved smoked stuff. As a Hungarian, I think it's in my DNA. From sausages and ham to our paprika powder, pork knuckles and cheese, we smoke almost everything one can imagine.

But one of my favorite smoked delicacies is smoked fish and especially smoked trout. One -admittedly quite rich- way to prepare it is by crumbling it into a spread with hard-boiled egg yalk, a bit of mayo and chives. It can then be enjoyed with a good toast or, if combined with the hard-boiled white, it becomes an egg salad or a mimosa egg.

Another thing my Hungarian ancestry thouroughly enjoyed is stuffed cabbage, that was best prepared by my Transylvanian great-grand-mother who passed away when I was two years old. So I can't remebmer her but oh! I heard soooo much about her incredible cooking.

This recipe combines the best of these two worlds. Beautifully colored red chard leaves take the place of the cabbage leaves and the traditional meat & rice filling is substituted with smoked fish, hard-boiled egg and sauteed chard stalks.

Finally, instead of simmering for hours, the rich flavours are balanced with a fresh yoghurt sauce featuring another Central European star: horseradish. —marxoign

What You'll Need
  • 2 Eggs (3 if you want to make your own mayo)
  • 150 grams Smoked trout or mackerel
  • 1 bunch Chard (possibly with red stalks, the result will be prettier)
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Cloves of garlic
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Mayonnaise (homemade's the best!)
  • 3 cups Fish stock
  • 2 cups Yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon Grated horseradish or horseradish paste
  • 1 bunch Dill
  • 1 bunch Chives
  • 1 tablespoon Mustard seeds
  • Croûtons or toasted seeds for garnishing
  1. Pour water into a medium sized pot. Boil up and cook eggs until hard-boiled, appr. 10 minutes. Cool down in running water, peel and hack into small pieces. Reserve in the fridge.
  2. While eggs are boiling, wash the chard and separate the stalks from the leaves, reserve the leaves. Peal 2 stalks (if needed) and cut into small cubes. Store in cold water mixed with a bit of lemon juice to avoid oxidation.
  3. Crush the smoked fish into small pieces (you can either dice it or just smudge it with a fork). Mince the onions and garlic. Chop the dill and chives.
  4. In a large pan, toast mustard seeds until fragrant. Add oil and gently saute the oignons on medium heat until translucent, appr. 5 mins.
  5. Add dill, garlic and cubed chard stalks. Saute further until chard gets a bit golden.
  6. Reduce heat and finish off cooking by adding fish stock little by little, a bit like when you make risotto. It's ready when there's no liquid left and stalks are cooked but still a little bit crunchy - let’s say kind of al dente. Transfer into a large bowl and let cool.
  7. Meanwhile, boil a big pot of water, add 1 tbsp salt (you'll blanch the chard leaves in it).
  8. Combine sauteed stalks, hard-boiled egg, smoked fish and mayonnaise. Season with lemon juice, chopped chives, salt and pepper. You can also add some (smoked and/or hot) paprika powder or even caraway. Mix well with a fork. The result should not be too moist, more like a filling. If too moist, strain or add breadcrumbs and let sit for 10 minutes.
  9. Prepare a large bowl of very cold water. Very shortly blanch chard leaves in the boiling salty water, just to relax the fibers, say 10 seconds and immediately immerse into the cold water to stop the cooking.
  10. Cut each leaf into two, along the thickest rib, so as to get rid of the rib and end up with two long strips 1 to 2 inches large.
  11. Unroll and cut cling film. Gently lay two chard strips on the cling film in a cross shape. Lay the filling in the middle of the cross (just enough so it does not run out when packing).
  12. Fold strips one after the other until you have a kind of small package. Now, fold the clingfilm to shape the chard into a ball, and twist it tight. Repeat with other leaves. Reserve in the fridge some 20 minutes, so that it gets firmer.
  13. Mix yoghurt with horseradish, season with salt and pepper, bit of lemon. You can also add a bit of chives and olive oil.
  14. Pour 2-3 tbsp of the yoghurt into a bowl, unpack chard balls from the cling film and put in the middle of the yoghurt. Brush with a little lemon juice to make it nice and shiny.
  15. Garnish with e.g. croutons or torrefied sunflower or pine seeds. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

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