Collards Are The Next Kale!

This dish is maybe more appropriate for a colder season, but we are in the middle of the monsoons here and on a rainy night it was just about perfect. I am gearing up to run Run Rabbit Run this September and have been ramping up my running accordingly. Despite my appetite slowing over the years I have been HUNGRY! I haven’t been doing the best job of meals as of late; we’ll call it lazy summer malaise, and I vowed to take a few minutes to make a satisfying meal the night before the longest training run I have ever done. I have been saying for years now that “collards are the next kale” but alas kale is still king. I love collards, they are sturdy, bright, and fresh which makes them especially easy to stuff. I have grown them in years past but this was a beautiful bunch I picked up at the Farmer’s market. I stuffed them with a lemony rice and baked them in the oven with a quick tomato sauce. This recipe is ripe for adaptation, stir nuts, dried fruit, or roasted red peppers into the rice. The sky’s the limit! They were extremely satisfying and were indeed great fuel for my run high on the San Fransisco Peaks of Flagstaff. Here’s to collards, I know a great takeover is coming!

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Tomato Sauce

  • 1  28 oz can good quality whole tomatoes in their juice
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh oregano
  • 2tbs chopped fresh basil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbs sugar (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place all ingredients in blender and whizz to combine
  2. Pour into a medium saucepan and cook for 5-10 minutes to thicken and bring out the flavor
  3. Set aside for later

NOTE: If you like a chunky sauce you can skip the blender and put all ingredients in a wide saucepan and heat gently while smashing tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

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Rice and Collards

  • 8-12 large collard green leaves, stems gently removed
  • 1 cup rice of choice (I like to use arborio)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 tbs chopped fresh herbs – I used thyme and oregano
  • 1 tbs butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring a large 4-6 quart pot of water to boil and generously salt water
  2. Preheat oven to 350
  3. Gently place collard leaves in the pot and cook until tender – 5-7 minutes for us here at 7000 ft
  4. Remove with a slotted spoon and spread out on layers of towels to dry
  5. Return the pot of water to the boil and cook rice until just tender about 15 minutes and drain
  6. While rice is cooking whisk together egg yolk, lemon zest, herbs, and cheese
  7. Return the rice to the pot and stir in butter, and egg yolk mixture
  8. Set aside to cool for a few minutes
  9. Pour 3/4 of tomato sauce into bottom of casserole dish big enough to hold 8 rolled collard parcels
  10. The goal is 8 parcels, I find that I always have a few leaves that I need to double up as they break during cooking or were smaller to begin with. Overlap 2 leaves as necessary.
  11. Place about 1/3 cup of the rice mixture in the center of the collard leaves and folding in the corners roll into a tight parcel
  12. Place in the prepared casserole dish, repeat until complete
  13. Pour remaining tomato sauce on top of parcels and cover with foil
  14. Bake 25-30 minutes until sauce is bubbling and collard rolls are heated through
  15. Serve with sauce spooned over and topped with more parmesan if desired

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