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Some of the greatest comfort foods involve carbs, cheese, and cream. I’d like to bring dumplings into the spotlight. While there are as many dumpling variations as there are people on this planet (only slightly exaggerating), lately I’ve been cozying up with Swiss capuns. If you’ve never heard of these leaf-enrobed, cream-bathed parcels, you’re in for a treat. 

These savory bundles had never before entered my universe until a couple months ago, and it took a layover in Zürich to make that happen. While there were a lot of things I enjoyed eating in my brief 14-hour stay (yes, a lot of chocolate happened), the capuns stuck with me.

Swiss capuns are from Graubünden in Switzerland, but they’re eaten widely, and recipes seem to vary from family to family. They’re composed of a simple flour dumpling paste that can include bits of dried meat, cheese, or herbs, and rolled up in a blanched leaf of Swiss chard. The verdant morsels are draped in a cream sauce and baked with a foil lid. The steam from the small pool of cream builds in the dish and gently cooks the dumpling.

They’re served with the cream sauce, topped with cheese, and eaten hot. 

The dumpling filling is savory and hearty, the cream sauce is rich and decadent, but my favorite part is the chard leaf. It tastes like spinach but less bitter, a bit earthier, and with more structural integrity. The leafy green brings a flavorful balance to the rich ingredients—a perfect match for the cheese and cream. In other words, eating four or six feels like a reasonable serving. Eat them alongside a roast chicken, a stew, or any main dish that’ll stick to your ribs.

How to make capuns

1. Blanch your chard

Bring about six cups of water to a boil in a wide pot. Cut the stems off about 10 medium-to-large chard leaves. I cut the stem just at the base of the leaf. When the water boils, add a heavy pinch of salt and drop in a few leaves. Blanch them for 45 seconds and move them to a tea towel or a few layers of paper towel to dry off. Repeat with all of the leaves. 

2. Make the dumpling mixture

Batter in a bowl with a spoon.

Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients—flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg—with the parsley. Toss to combine. Add the eggs, oil, and milk, and mix until just combined. Don’t mix it until smooth or the dumpling can get tough. Finely chop and pan fry a shallot. Add it into the batter along with shredded cheese and chopped cured meat. In Switzerland they use salsiz, but you can use salami, or even chop up ham or bacon if that’s what you have. 

3. Shape the capuns

Dumpling batter in a chard leaf

Cut a small notch out at the base of the stem to make rolling easier.
Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

This is optional but I found it made rolling easier. At the base of each chard leaf, cut the widest part of the stem out in a small triangle. You can see the notch missing from the leaf in the picture. Add a tablespoon or so of the batter to the base of the leaf. Fold the sides up onto the filling first, then roll it up to the tip of the leaf. Place the capun in a buttered baking dish, seam-side down. Repeat this with all of the batter. Err on the side of thinner capuns; they will be more balanced and tender. I used too much dumpling dough in my capuns, which I realized later. They were still good but just a little too heavy. 

4. Add the cream sauce and bake

Rolls of chard leaf in a dish with cream sauce.

Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

In a measuring cup, combine the broth (I used beef, but chicken or vegetable are great too), salt, and the cream. Pour this around the capuns into the dish. Top each roll with shavings of Emmentaler cheese, or any hard, melty cheese, like parmesan or gruyère. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400°F for 15 minutes, or until the cream sauce is bubbling. Be careful of steam when unwrapping. Top the dish with more shredded cheese, and serve hot.

These capuns taste best when fresh but you can save leftovers covered in the fridge, and reheat them in the microwave for 20 seconds or so.

Capuns Recipe (Swiss chard wrapped dumplings)


  • 1 ½ cup flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

  • 2 eggs

  • ½ tablespoon oil

  • ½ cup milk

  • 1 shallot, minced

  • ¼ cup chopped salami

  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan

  • 6 leaves of Swiss Chard, stem trimmed

For the sauce:

1. Blanch the chard for 45 seconds and blot them dry with a paper towel. Butter a casserole dish and preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. In a small frying pan, lightly oiled, fry the minced shallot until translucent. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and parsley until combined. Add the eggs, oil, milk, shallot, salami, and parmesan cheese. Mix until just combined (it will be lumpy.)

4. Lay out one leaf of chard. Add a shallow tablespoon of the batter at the base of the leaf. Fold the sides up on the batter and then begin rolling from the base to the end of the leaf. It will look like a little green package. Place it in the buttered baking dish. Repeat this with the remaining batter and chard leaves. 

5. In a measuring cup, combine the broth, salt, and heavy cream. Pour this into the casserole dish. Top each capun with shavings of emmentaler cheese. Cover the dish completely with foil and bake for 15 minutes. The cream sauce will be boiling and the dumplings will be perfectly steamed. Be careful when removing the foil, the steam is hot. Serve the capuns in a puddle of cream sauce.

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