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Swiss chard dried plum dolmas

Swiss Chard, Brown Rice and Dried Plum Dolmas

From: Chef Mark Liberman, AQ and Bon Marche, San Francisco. Yield: 24 servings.

½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 cups brown rice
4 bay leaves
8 cups water
6 tsp. salt, or to taste
2 cups diced dried plums
2 cups diced Swiss chard stems
6 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
6 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
1½ Tbsp. ground cumin
1½ tsp. cinnamon
72 large leaves, Swiss chard
juice of 4 lemons
½ cup roasted, salted sunflower seed kernels, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Heat ¼ cup olive oil in medium saucepan over low heat. Add rice and bay leaves and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in dried plums, chard stems, sunflower seeds, parsley, lemon zest and spices. Season with salt and let cool completely. Rinse chard, pat dry and cut away stems. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Cook 3 to 4 leaves at a time, just until softened; remove and place in a bowl of ice water. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet.

Place a heaping tablespoon of filling on the bottom half of each leaf. Fold in the sides, then roll up tightly to enclose filling. Spread a layer of Swiss chard leaf scraps on the bottom of a large and heavy pot to prevent dolmas from burning. Lay dolmas, seam-side down, over the leaves. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and add boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the dolmas. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and let cool slightly. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with sunflower seeds and red pepper flakes.

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