Tomato Sauce Braised Collard Rolls

Tomato Sauce Braised Collard Rolls

Serves 2

For the Tomato Sauce 

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1 small onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes 

1 cup water or broth

Salt

Lemon juice, to taste 

Heat a medium pot with a lid over medium heat, and add olive oil. Add onion and a big pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to get translucent (about 4 minutes). Add garlic, and cook a minute or two longer. Add water/broth and tomatoes, and increase heat to bring up to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce heat to medium-low and cover slightly, allowing to simmer for at least 30 minutes while occasionally stirring. Once the mixture has reduced by about ⅓, season to taste with salt and lemon juice. Set aside. 

For the Collard Rolls

5-8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and finely diced 

2 tablespoons olive oil 

1 small onion, finely diced 

1 ½ teaspoons toasted fennel seeds, coarsely ground

1 ½ teaspoons toasted coriander seeds, coarsely ground

½ pound sausage or ground meat (optional)

3 cloves garlic, minced 

½ small chili (jalepeño or serrano), seeds removed and finely diced

1 ½ cups cooked rice, other grain, or grain and lentil mix 

3 tablespoons finely chopped herbs (parsely, cilantro, basil, etc.) 

8-10 collard leaves 

Salt

Black pepper

Lemon juice

Parmesan or other hard cheese (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350º F and heat a large pan over medium heat. Add your mushrooms and a big pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they release their water (about 6-8 minutes). Transfer into a bowl and set aside.

Return pan to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion and a pinch of salt, and cook for a minute or two. Add fennel, coriander, and sausage/ground meat (if using) and break up into small pieces with a spatula. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until meat is beginning to get brown and crispy on the edges. Add garlic, chili, a pinch of salt, and the mushrooms to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes. Add rice and ½ cup tomato sauce, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Transfer the mix to a large bowl and add the chopped herbs. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and lemon juice. Set aside.

To prep your collard greens, lay them smooth-side-down on a cutting board with the center rib pointing up. Using a small knife, trim the stem to the bottom of the leaf and carefully shave the rib part of the leaf down so it’s as thin as possible (try not to cut into the fleshy part of the leaf as best as you can!). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and fill a bowl with ice cold water. Add collard greens and let blanch for 2 minutes, then submerge leaves in cold water for a minute or two. Remove leaves and gently squeeze out excess water, and lay flat on a work surface. 

Lightly grease a baking dish and set aside. To the upper third of each leaf, add 3-4 tablespoons of the mix. Roll the top of the leaf over the filling, then fold the sides of the leaf inwards. Continue to roll the leaf so the remainder wraps around it (trimming as desired). Add ½ cup of tomato sauce to the base of the baking dish and then nestle your collard rolls on top. Pour remaining tomato sauce over the top and grate cheese over if desired. Bake for 35-40 minutes, let cool slightly, then serve!


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