Collard Greens meet Cabbage Rolls = Collard Roll Ups
And then there are the veggies and greens I had never tried, much less prepared before. Last week we had Swiss Chard that I incorporated into a warming curry dish.
This week we have Collard Greens! I have to admit, at first I was a little stumped on what to do with these ginormous green leaves. To get a little more familiar with my new acquaintance I read up on them on Wikipedia. There I learnt that they are part of the cabbage family.
And the idea of ‘cabbage’ rolls in collard greens was born! These Collard Roll Ups are filled with a seasoned ground beef mixture with rice, onions and parsley.
How do you chop a lot of parsley? Whenever I need a larger amount of freshly chopped parsley I put it in a small cup and go at it with my kitchen scissors. I found this to be much faster and less messy compared to using a cutting board.
You can use any kind of ground meat for these roll ups. The rice in the mixture helps to loosen the meat so you don’t end up with a tough and dense log of meat. I tried using brown rice, but white or especially sticky rice help to keep everything together.
To soften the collard greens in order to form nice rolls, they are steam cooked in just a little water. Remove the hard stem first. My collard leaves were so big, that I used only half a leaf per roll.
Once the roll ups are formed they are steam cooked in a delicious bacon tomato sauce. In Germany cabbage rolls are often served with potatoes. But pasta also works really great with the remaining tomato sauce.
- ½ cup (125 g) white rice (I used sticky rice)
- bunch of collard greens (enough for 4-5 big roll ups)
- 7 ounces (200 g) ground beef
- ½ medium onion
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- salt and pepper (about ½ and ¼ teaspoon)
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 3 bacon strips
- 1 cup broth
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- Steam or cook the rice but not until fully done (about 15 minutes) and let cool.
- Remove the stems of the collard greens and place the leaves in a large pot with about an inch of boiling water. Cover with a lid and steam cook for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. This will soften the leaves for rolling up.
- In a bowl combine ground beef, cooled rice, parsley, mustard, salt and pepper, and chili powder. Place about a quarter (to ⅕) of the mixture on top of a collard green leaf. Roll up tightly while tucking in the sides.
- Cut the bacon into thin strips brown them in a large pan over medium-high heat. When the bacon starts to brown place the collard roll ups in the pan, seam side down, and cook until the bottom is browned (this will keep the roll ups closed).
- Add broth and tomato sauce to the pan. The roll ups should be covered half way. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and cover with a lid. Simmer for 30 minutes.