I don't often watch "food television", as much of it has become an extension of Reality TV, which doesn't relate to any "reality" I know of; could be because I don't get out much, or perhaps I'm not hip....but I have a problem watching shows that seem to reward bad and outrageous behavior.....much of what's on is either heavily character based; or competition television. For me, when I'm able to, which is not often enough, I'd rather turn on PBS during a lazy Saturday.....though some of those shows don't really inspire or keep my attention either. There are exceptions; like the one Sunday I flipped stations to PBS and watched a show called A Chef's Life. I'd never heard of this program, and even though I enjoyed the back story, it was the subject that I loved......collard greens. I called the Missus over and having some wonderful, fresh collards in the fridge, She was fascinated as well....especially the part on collard kraut. Then came the segment on making collard green dolmades and we were sold. Though not quite in the manner of the show, we were inspired to make something akin to Turkish Dolmars. Dolmar mean literally to "stuff".....in fact, the tiny buses around Cappadocia are called "Dolmars", because of how you stuff folks into them. We teamed the stuffed collards with a tangy tomato based sauce, halfway between shakshuka and marinara.
You might find it interesting to note that our favorite way of eating collards is not the typical Southern style long simmered variety, but a hot saute of the greens with a nice, flavorful fat.....bacon or duck will do, though guess what we did with all that Grieben Schmalz? It's something we first had years ago at Jayne's, which I just didn't feel like posting on.
Anyway, all you need to make a batch of these are four or five large, fresh(still pliable), leaves. You remove the spine, blanch for a minute or so, remove to an ice bath, and then let dry. You then use the leaves to roll your meat mixture....you can make 4-6 with each leaf, depending on the size....of both the filling and the leaf.
Other things to take into consideration. I grate my onion on a box grater then squeeze out about half the liquid, this gives the filling a better flavor and texture. I grate my garlic on a ginger grater. I use full fat Greek Yogurt which I don't drain. You can adjust the salt based on your sauce, I'm not going to tell you what kind of sauce to use....I think you'll figure something out. The Smoked Spanish Paprika, which we get from Penzy's added a nice mild smoky flavor to the dish. As for the meat......go for it, but consider tenderness, moisture, and of course flavor. This will make at least 12-15 medium sized one's......
Stuffed Collard Greens:
5-6 Large, fresh, collard green leaves, blanched, iced, and drained
1/3 lb ground veal
1 1/2 Tb ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup grated, then partially drained onion
2 Tb grated or finely minced garlic
1 Tb granulated garlic
1 Tb Turkish Oregano, rub to break apart and release the oil when adding to meat
1/2 tsp Thyme (see above)
1/2 tsp Smoked Spanish Paprika
1/4 tsp dried mustard
- Combine all ingredients except collard leaves.
- portion out into oblong meatballs as desired.
- Wrap in collard leaves.
- Steam for 10-15 minutes.
- Drain excess liquid and serve with sauce of your choice.
A pretty simple recipe, thanks to some inspiration from a show I'll try to watch when I can......