Chard dumplings with olives, raisins and pistachios

chard dumplings

chard dumplings

Here at The Ordinary, we’ve had a…well, it’s been a rough week in some ways. Not horrible, but emotional. One night, probably the night of our greatest stress, the boys were calling out….”Everybody! Everybody! Everybody!” Familiar, but I couldn’t quite remember what it was. And then it clicked…it was this moment from Blues Brothers…

It happens to be one of my favorite cinematic moments! It’s the pinnacle of this film, which is zany, yes, and over-the-top, yes, but is also so full of honesty, warmth, humanity and soul, that it becomes unforgettable. When Elwood says …

And remember, people, that no matter who you are and what you do to live, thrive and survive, there’re still some things that makes us all the same.

… he speaks the truth! He’s talking, of course, about needing someone to love, but I’ve always thought that he’s also talking about needing music, and the joy of making music with other people, or just dancing to music made by other people. And this is some of the most joyful dancing I’ve ever seen!!

Yeah. I made these dumplings like asian steamed dumplings (or my interpretation of asian steamed dumplings.) In this house they’re also called “kung fu panda dumplings.” But the filling was inspired by two things…first of all, my world-renowned love of chard, raisins and nuts. And second of all, my fascination with the Latin American practice of combining raisins and olives. I’ve read about this quite a bit! It’s a filling for empanadas and pies, amongst other things. It shouldn’t work, but it does, Oh yes it does!!! So those were the principles behind these little dumplings. I made them a day ahead, and then we toasted them so that they got a little brown on their soft tops.

Here’s Wilson Pickett with Everybody Needs Someone to Love.


2 1/2 cups flour
1 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 1/2 t yeast
3 T sugar
1 T white wine vinegar
3 T olive oil

Combine the yeast, 1 t sugar and 1/2 cup warm water in a small bowl, and leave to get foamy.

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Make a well in the center and pour in the olive oil, vinegar and yeast mixture. Add enough water to form a workable dough. Knead for about 5 minutes, and set aside in an oiled bowl, covered with a damp cloth, for about 2 hours. Punch down, and leave to rise again for an hour. Divide into 8 pieces, and put them back in the bowl while you prepare the …


1 large bunch chard, washed, stems removed, finely chopped
1 T olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t rosemary
1 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 cup raisins, soaked in boiling water, drained
1/2 cup castelvetrano olives
1/2 cup kalamata olives
1 cup pistachios, roasted or toasted
1 cup sharp cheddar, grated
plenty of black pepper

Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallot, rosemary and red pepper flakes and fry for about a minute, till the shallot starts to brown. Add the garlic, and cook for about another minute, then add the chard. Cook till it’s wilted and soft and the pan is fairly dry. You may need to add a spoonful of water to cook it through properly.

Tip the chard into a bowl. Put the olives in the food processor and process for less than a minute, so they’re chopped but chunky. (Or chop by hands) Repeat with the raisins and pistachios. You don’t want them to be ground, just chopped. Add these to the chard along with the cheese. Mix well, and season with plenty of pepper. Add salt if you like, but taste first, because the olives are salty.


Roll out a small ball of dough to be about 1/4 inch thick and six inches across. Put a heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle (we’re talking about half a cup!) Pull up the edges of the dough to make a dumpling shape. Seal, and set on a plate. When you have all the dumplings on a plate, set them aside and let them sit while you heat the water. You might need to steam them in two batches.

Heat the water in a wok – about 1 1/2 inches deep. Meanwhile, line your bamboo steamer with lettuce leaves. Place the dumplings on the steamer. They can touch a little bit, but the less the better.

Put the lid on the steamer. Put the steamer on the steam. Steam for 20 minutes. Take off the steam, and let it sit till it’s cool enough to handle.


7 thoughts on “Chard dumplings with olives, raisins and pistachios

  1. We would especially like to welcome members of the Illinois law enforcement community who have chosen to join us in the Palace Hotel Ballroom at this time.

    Just need a recipe for Orange Whip, for dessert…

    • We made orange whip this summer!! Orange juice, vodka, and vanilla ice cream. Surprisingly tasty!! Dangerously so…I don’t really like to drink vodka, cause it throws me for a loop.

    • Is that where that silly pointing thing originated, do you think? It makes sense for that audience to point, because they’re singing ” You! You! You!” But people now point for absolutely no reason – perhaps they all saw the film and copied it?

      • I don’t know! Pointing, in general, seems like a strange practice…like when politicians point into the crowd. I suppose they’re trying to say, “I know YOU, special individual person!” But it seems silly.

  2. TFD, films can certainly make catchy things catch on – I’m sure the “we are not worthy” bowing-with-outstretched-arms thing was from ‘Wayne’s World’. But it’s not always easy to trace things exactly…

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