Stuffed Collard Greens

June 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm Leave a comment

Stuffed. My brain is stuffed. I have learned more in the last week by observation on the wards and reading about my patients than I did during an entire year of medical school. I exaggerate, but it is true in some regards. My feet are tired, my back is tired, my brain is tired. But I am loving what I am doing – a good sign, right? I have only spent the last 6 years studying to get to this point! However, the point of this blog is about the food and not the medicine, so let’s get to the point.

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Collard greens. Those are also stuffed. Or at least they can be! Collard greens are one of the less loved leaves here in the Northeast. Many people I have talked to either love them, thanks to good soul food, or hate them, since they can be bitter and difficult to cook. I love them! Collard greens do not have to be braised or stewed for hours with salty ham hocks to be enjoyable. They also make an interesting wrapper, creating a dish reminiscent of Polish stuffed cabbage. I combined a few recipes to come up with a good stuffed greens recipe that my friends and I enjoyed (even my veggie-averse friend!) I used fresh mint because that is what I had – it is interesting and unique, which I found enjoyable, but may not be for everyone’s palate since it is unexepected. For the less adventurous, just substitute basil and enjoy!

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Collard Greens Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomato, Goat Cheese and Mint Rice Pilaf

modified from these recipes, serves 4

1 bunch collard greens, stemmed and halved

1 cup brown rice

2 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (soaked in water for 20 minutes if dry)

2 oz goat cheese

1 small clamshell fresh mint leaves

1 tbsp dried parsley

1 small onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp olive oil

Wash and dry the collard greens. Prepare them by cutting out the large center stem, and then by cutting them in half (extending the cut from where the stem was removed lengthwise.) Steam the collard greens for 2-3 minutes, until bright green and just tender. Transfer quickly to a bowl of ice water. Meanwhile, cook rice according to instructions. In a saucepan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is soft. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and parsley and stir to combine. Stir in rice, fresh mint, and goat cheese once rice is cooked. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take a collard green half, spoon appropriate amount of rice mixture, and then roll like you are making a burrito, tucking in ends and securing sides. Place folded side down in a baking dish. Continue until all collard greens or stuffing is used up. Add a 1-cm layer of water in the bottom of the baking dish to keep the greens moist while baking. Bake for 12 minutes so that greens fully cook. Serve a few as a side, or many as a main dish with a side salad. Does not make for great leftovers.

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