Capuns are dumplings wrapped in chard leaves stemming from the Swiss canton of Graubünden. While they traditionally rely on bacon, I gave sundried tomatoes and mushrooms a shot in the leading role. Umami has to come from somewhere. Moreover I added cheese to the filling and browned with cheese and cream in the oven. I believe both do not necessarily correspond to the default approach.
Serves 4 hungry people.
- 500ml of heavy cream
- 500g mushrooms
- 2 large onions
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 leek
- red wine
- fresh thyme leaves
- olive oil
- 200g Gruyère
- 4 Eggs
- 450g flour
- 200ml milk
- 100ml water
- 150g sundried tomatoes
- bunch of basil
- bunch of chive
- bunch of parsley
- bunch of mint
- 100g parmesan
- 100g Bündner Bergkäse (use some hard Swiss cheese if you can’t find any)
My recommended scheduling is:
- starting to prepare the sauce
- mixing the dough
- finishing the sauce
- Preparing and boiling the capuns
- Placing the capuns with sauce into an oven-proof dish and let it grattin
While this is of course somewhat arbitrary, note that preparing and boiling the capuns is somewhat involved and can be a bit challenging to do along other things. Hence I like to finish the sauce beforehand.
1: The sauce
Chop the mushrooms in thin slices and sauté them with both olive oil and a decent amount of butter in a large pan. Once most of the moisture has evaporated, add the finely chopped onions. Add more olive oil/butter as needed. Add garlic and once everything has taken on a fair amount of color, add the thyme leaves and some red wine. Continue the process of adding fats and red wine until you’ve reached a state you’re happy with. Once that is the case, add the chopped leek, sauté it for some minutes, add the cream, some nutmeg, salt and pepper and let everything come together for a couple of minutes.
You can let the sauce sit and cool down without worrying. It will eventually be poured over the finished capuns. The Gruyère will only be added at that stage.
2: Mixing the dough
Combine eggs, sieved flour, milk, water and seasoning in a large bowl. Roughly bring everything together with a fork or spoon. Do not expect a firm dough, its fluidity will likely be somewhere between that of crepe and cake dough. Mix until no major clumps can be seen. Add the grated cheeses, chopped sundried tomatoes and chopped herbs and let the dough sit for 30-60’.
3: Preparing the capuns
Try to get ahold of large chard. If successful, you can use one chard stem for two capuns: follow the the grain of the stem to cut the leave into two halves. Separate the green leaf from the white stem. This way, one cut leaf-part will serve as wrapping for one capun.
Once the preparation you’ve finished cutting the leaves, blanch them for 20-30 seconds each. I would suggest not trying to blanch too many at the same time as this can become messy. After retrieving from the simmering water, put the leaves in cold water before letting them dry.
Having blanched all of the leaves, the actual capun-making can begin. I’d recommend using two spoons to place some of the dough onto a leaf. Use the tucking-in-the-sides-burrito-technique to reduce leakage. Carefully roll the leaves up and use 2-3 toothpicks to fix them. Rinse and repeat!
In a big pot with simmering salted water, carefully add some capuns. Try not to overcrowd the pot and make sure they have some space inbetween them - there should only be one ‘layer’ of capuns in the pot. Depending on the amount of dough you used, cook them for 5-10’. After that, don’t forget to remove the toothpicks. Rinse and repeat!
The latter steps can be interleaved and batched as to prepare wrap some capuns while others are cooking.
4: Bringing it all together
Once all of the capuns have been cooked and have lost excess water, place them in one oven-proof dish. As to have a proper crust, make sure not to layer the capuns onto each other. Pour the sauce over the capuns and add the grated Gruyère.
You can also boil the capuns in a mixture of stock and milk. You should be able to find more information on that online.
I have found sautéed green beans, charred broccoli or caramelized honey-balsamic vinegar brussel sprouts to work relatively well as sides.
Many thanks to Nick.