Sunday, April 19, 2009

Old dog, new trick

Beets. Crimson, sweet, healthy, hardy... but what do you do with them? There's always roasting, steaming and pickling, but this can get old after a while. So I've been thinking lately of new ways to cook these most lovely veggies. And today, when I was least expecting it, an idea flashed through my mind: stuffing! Yes, stuffing! For cabbage leaves... or collard greens, since that's what I actually had in the fridge.

What you need: 3 carrots and 1 large beet (peeled and shredded), half a finely chopped onion, collard greens, brown rice, rosemary, salt, pepper, juice of one lemon, garlic. (Note: in retrospect, the beet-carrot mixture ended up being way more than I needed, so you can cut it in half or make the whole thing and have leftovers... I highly recommend the second option!)
Cook the rice (I had leftover, which is best). Sautee the onions in olive oil until soft, add the carrots and beets, salt and pepper. In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to boil. Snip the stems of the collard greens, rinse and submerge in the boiling water for a few mintues, a few batches at a time).

Line the bottom of a glass dish with enough collard green leaves to cover. Mix about half the beet-carrot mixture with the rice (maybe a cup or so) and rosemary. Lay out a collard green leaf on a cutting board, cut off about 3 to 4 inches of the stem, place 1 or 2 good spoonfuls of the stuffing on the leaf and roll it up like you would if you were making a burrito or a sandwich wrap, and line the stufffed leaves tightly into the pan.

Peel some garlic cloves and place them down the center of the two rows of stuffed leaves, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the lemon juice evenly over all as well as some of the collard greens cooking water. Cover and bake at 400 for about 40 minutes.

Served with rice mixed with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, these stuffed collard greens made a great light, late-night dinner.

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