Collards: North of the Mason-Dixon

For all you Southern transplants and Southern lovers, here’s a health kick to the traditional collard greens recipe from Bauman College faculty member Lisa Turner:

Collard Rolls with Red Lentils and Pine Nuts
Makes 8 to 10 rolls

The broad, sturdy nature of collard leaves makes them ideal for rolling. To make rolling easier, before cooking leaves, place each one rib side up and, holding a sharp knife horizontal to the cutting board, shave the center rib down slightly. Look for large, wide leaves; buy an extra bunch of collards, since you’ll likely tear a few during rolling.

1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 cup homemade or high-quality stock
1 can coconut milk
1 cup red lentils
2 to 4 tablespoons pine nuts (substitute chopped macadamia nuts)
8 to 10 large, intact and unblemished collard leaves (about 1 bunch)

1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly, then strain through a fine mesh strainer or sieve.  Heat a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add quinoa and toast for 1 minute, stirring constantly, or until fragrant. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

2. In the same pot, heat oil over medium heat and sauté onions for 3 to 4 minutes, until just tender. Add curry and garlic  and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

3. Add 1 cup of the stock, coconut milk, red lentils and toasted quinoa.  Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally; add remaining 1/2 cup stock if needed during cooking. Cook until lentils and quinoa are tender but not mushy, and liquid is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in pine nuts. Remove from heat and let cool enough to handle during rolling.

4. While lentils and quinoa are cooking, cut and discard stems form collards. Drop leaves into a large pot of boiling water and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until pliable but still bright green. While collards are cooking, fill a large bowl with ice and water. Remove cooked collards from boiling water with tongs and drop into ice water for 30 seconds to stop cooking and set color. Remove from ice bath and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels.

5. To assemble rolls: place one leaf on a flat surface, with the inside surface of the leaf showings. Cut off lower inch of leaf. Mound about 1/3 cup of quinoa mixture onto lower third of the leaf. Fold bottom edge of leaf over mixture, and fold sides of leaves in to cover mixture. Starting at the bottom edge, roll leaf tightly to encase filling completely.

6. Arrange, seam side down, on a serving plate. Repeat with remaining leaves. Reserve any leftover filling for later use. Serve immediately.