Smoky Savory Collard Wraps
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 1/2 cups small red beans (cooked)
1 large onion (finely diced)
1 yellow bell pepper (or green, chopped)
2 rib celery (finely chopped)
5 cloves garlic (minced)
15 ounces diced fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon Tabasco (optional)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
salt (to taste)
12 leaves collard greens
You will need cooked rice and red beans, so before you do anything else, make sure you have those prepared. Hopefully you have some leftover from previous meals.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Spray or wipe it with olive oil, if you like. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring regularly, until it begins to brown. Add the green pepper and celery and cook, adding a little water if it starts to dry out, until the vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Remove 3/4 of a cup of the vegetables from the skillet and mix them in a bowl with the fire-roasted tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. Set aside.
To the skillet, add the rice, red beans, the seasonings, and a little bit of water if it seems to dry. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly and adding additional liquid if it starts to dry out. Remove from heat.
Next, bring a large pot of water to boil. Wash the collard leaves and cut off the stems level with the bottom of the leaves. Turn them with the coarse stem-side of the leaf up, and holding a very sharp knife parallel to the leaf, trim off part of the thickened central rib. Be careful not to cut through the leaves. If leaves are very large, you can just cut out the thickest part of the central rib.
Rolling stuffed collards:
In two batches of 6, place the collard leaves into the boiling water, pressing them down gently to make sure all leaves are submerged. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and rinse in cool water. Repeat with remaining leaves.
Preheat oven to 350F.
To assemble, spoon 1/2 of the tomato mixture into the bottom of a long, oiled casserole dish. Place a collard leaf in front of you, trimmed side up and stem closest to you. Place about 2-3 tablespoons of the rice mixture (2 for small leaves, 3 for larger) about a quarter of the way from the bottom.
Fold the side edges over the middle. Fold the bottom (stem end) over the filling, tucking it in behind the filling. Roll up tightly, and place each roll into the casserole dish. Spoon the remaining tomato mixture over the rolls, and cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Serve hot.
Good to Know:
This recipe contains beans but the dominant taste is the collards. This is what I meant when I said earlier that you can serve beans really often without your family feeling like you eat nothing but beans. The beans are there, but the bright beautiful green leaves are the highlight of this recipe. Collard greens are so healthy! Make this recipe when you have enough time to really enjoy working with the greens. It’s fun and you’ll enjoy your dish even more because it will look like it was prepared by a gourmet chef!