When I was foraging the other day, I came across this patch of gigantic mallow leaves- which seemed perfect for stuffing. I had to leave the house the next day for many hours to teach a foraging class in a far off city, and stuffed mallow leaves seemed like the perfect travel food, and a great example to show my class of what can be done with wild edibles.
I was thinking what I should stuff my mallow leaves with- I am trying to eat paleo (even though chocolate is my downfall) so I didn't want to stuff it with the traditional rice, and I had ground chicken breast already defrosted, as well as a fridge filled with other foraged greens, so that was my inspiration. Ground chicken and wild greens and carrots, vegetables, and using the mucilage from the chopped mallow to help bind it (along with the ground chicken) without any need for egg (I don't do so well with egg). They didn't take so long to make, contrary to what you'd think, and they came out terrifically- moist enough even without any grains, because of all the veggies inside, and very packed with flavor because of the varied ingredients- the fennel and wild onions are amazing.
At the class where I showed these off as examples of what you can do with wild foods, people were remarking how wonderfully they smelled- but I can guarantee, the flavor is even better.
You can make this recipe just as easily with hollyhocks in place of the mallow leaves- they are cousins and can be used interchangeably, with similar properties.
If you don't have wild greens, you can make these by stuffing any large leaves, like grape leaves or cabbage, and you can use scallions in place of the onions, and I think you can use dill in place of the fennel, but it might be too strong with that much dill, so maybe just use 1 cup of dill. And if you don't have mallow, you can use other greens, like spinach or kale or chard, but then you might want to add an egg or some ground flax seeds to help it bind more.
And if you don't have pink peppercorns, feel free to use black pepper or leave out.
Foraged Mallow Leaves Stuffed With Wild Greens Recipe- Paleo, Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly, Low CarbIngredients:
2 2/3 cup ground chicken or turkey
1 2/3 cup chopped wild fennel
2/3 cup grated carrots
1/3 cup chopped wild onion greens (any type is fine)
1/3-1/2 cup chopped mallow/hollyhocks leaves
1 pinch ground pink peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
12-15 giant mallow leaves for stuffing, or hollyhock leaves
2/3 cup water
Lemons or sumac powder or chopped wood sorrel for garnish- optional
Clover flowers, henbit flowers, mallow flowers, lavender flowers or rosemary flowers, dandelion petals, calendula petals, or any other edible tiny entire flower or petals for garnish- optional
1. Mix up all the filling ingredients- ground poultry, wild fennel, carrots, onion greens, mallow leaves, salt, and ground pink peppercorns.
2. Lay your mallow leaves, stem cut off, stem side up, on a cutting board, spoon a heaping tablespoon (or more) into your mallow leaves, placing it right near the indent of the leaf, folding over the sides to cover the mixture, then rolling them up to fully encase them in the leaf. If the mixture isn't able to be fully covered by the leaf, either use less filling, or wrap the stuffed leaf with another mallow leaf, making sure that the exposed part on the first leaf is fully covered by the second leaf.
3. Lay the stuffed mallow leaves, seam side down, into a wide bottomed pot. Do this with all the leaves, until the entire pot is finished, stuffing it as much as possible so there aren't loose spaces (if there are, your stuffed mallow leaves may come unraveled, so use a pot that you can fit all the stuffed mallow in to on either one tightly packed layer, or two tightly packed layers, but not with any lone stuffed leaves on another layer.
4. Add the water, cover the pot, and cook on a medium/low heat until the mallow leaves are fully covered and the inside is totally firm and cooked, roughly half an hour.
5. Carefully remove from the pot so as to not tear the leaves.
6. Eat either hot or cold- it is wonderful both ways.
7. If desired, squeeze on some lemon juice or sprinkle with sumac powder or drizzle on some sumac sumac infused water or top with some finely chopped wood sorrel. It doesn't need the acidity, but in my opinion, it tastes even more enjoyable that way.
8, You can also garnish with clover flowers for decoration, or any other small, edible flowers.
Are you a fan of stuffed leaves? What leaves do you typically stuff? What do you stuff them with? Have you ever seen mallow or hollyhocks growing near you? Do they grow large enough to stuff? Does this look like a recipe you'd try?