"Black Sea Turkey (Karadeniz Bolgesi) in Northern Turkey, is a humid and verdant region renowned for its natural beauty thanks to the high precipitation levels distributed evenly throughout the year. The region is very mountainous and is heavily forested, while the highest parts of the mountains are covered with alpine meadows, glacier lakes, and glaciers. "
Collard greens is an indispensable component of the Black Sea kitchen in Turkey, and it is difficult to find them outside that region. Despite the fact that unlike broccoli and kale and cabbage, there are not many research studies devoted to the specific health benefits of collard greens. However, these delicious leaves are invaluable sources of phytonutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, and rich in vitamin K, A, C, manganese, fiber and iron.
- One bunch Collard Green Leaves
- 1 onion
- 1/2 cup rice
- 1 pound or more ground beef
- 4 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 cup hot water
- Black pepper
- 1-1,5 tbsp. vegetable oil
- Separate the leaves one by one from the bunch. In a large pot of boiling salted water, over medium heat, add the collard leaves and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Cut leaves in half or four depends on the size of the each leaf.
- Sauté all tomato paste in oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes. Separate about 3 tbsp. of the sautéed tomato paste aside for the sauce. Add ground beef, onion, rice, and season with salt and pepper, to taste to the rest of the sautéed tomato paste. Stir well.
- Lay a collard leaf out on a flat surface and add 1/4 cup of the filling into the center. Fold both the sides into the center and the top and bottom over the center. Roll into a cylinder and repeat with the remaining leaves. If there are any remaining leaves you can chop them up and add to the sauce.
- Mix the sautéed tomato paste you put aside with hot water. Pour a thin layer of sauce into a 13 by 9-inch casserole dish. Arrange the collard rolls, seam sides down, on top of the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce over the stuffed collards and cover with foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve!
- OPTIONAL: If you would like to not to cook your collard greens long, you may cook the meat filling before you fill your greens. In that case you may turn off the oven as soon as you see bubbling around the dolmas.
- Bon appetite!