Recipe: Lamb-Stuffed Escarole

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Photo by wickenden/Flickr CC


This dish was modified from a recipe by Ian Knauer in the April 2008 issue of Gourmet.

Makes 4 servings

    • 1 large head escarole (1 ¼ pound)
    • 3/4 cup Arborio rice
    • ½ cup pine nuts
    • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 pound ground lamb
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in upper third.

Quarter escarole lengthwise, leaving base attached, and rinse well. Cook in a medium pot of boiling salted water (two tablespoons salt for four quarts water) six minutes. Drain and cool.

Meanwhile, bring 1 quart water to a boil with one and a half teaspoons salt in a medium saucepan. Add rice and parboil, uncovered, 10 minutes (rice will not be tender). Reserve a half cup of cooking liquid, then drain rice in a sieve.

Cook pine nuts and onion in a quarter-cup oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until both are pale golden, about three minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown, about a minute. Add in ground lamb and cook until browned, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add rice. Cool slightly, then stir in egg.

Cut off and discard base from one escarole quarter, then gently spread leaves to create a four-inch-wide area. With base end nearest you, place one fourth of rice mixture in center of bottom half of escarole. Fold base of leaves over rice, then fold in sides and roll up rice in escarole. Put, seam side down, in a two-quart flameproof shallow baking dish, then repeat with remaining escarole and rice.

Drizzle with reserved cooking liquid and remaining tablespoon oil. Cover tightly with foil and bake until rice is tender, about 30 minutes.

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Sara Lipka is a journalist with a local food habit. Since 2003 she has written about college students for The Chronicle of Higher Education, in Washington, D.C. Last year she lived and worked on a farm in Virginia, and this year she is starting a school garden in Maryland. More

Sara Lipka is a journalist with a local food habit. Since 2003 she has written about college students as a staff reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education, in Washington, D.C. Last year she was an intern for The Farm at Sunnyside, in Washington, Virginia, and this year she is starting a vegetable garden at the Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland.

Sara formerly interned at The Atlantic and has since interviewed authors about Roe v. Wade, libido, and settling. She graduated from Duke University summa cum laude in 2001, then spent a year in Chile as a Fulbright fellow, researching political theater.

An avid cook, Sara usually travels with a tiny bottle of truffle salt and keeps trying to concoct new combinations of ingredients. She has worked as a papergirl, camp counselor, umpire, and cashier at the Cosmic Cantina, in Durham, North Carolina, where she never got sick of the guacamole.

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