Sunday, October 4, 2009
Asian Collard Parcels.
I love the way those words play together; Asian collard parcels. Collard greens are a member of the brassica family, and are classified in the same cultivar group as kale and spring greens. The name collard is said to derive from Anglo-Saxon coleworts or colewyrts ("cabbage plants"). They are very nutritious and the leaves can grow to be quite large, which make them a prime candidate for parcel creation. Similar to Polish golabki, or German kohlroulade, these are little parcels of joy made by wrapping softened greens around a meat filling, an simmered in a saucy sauce of sorts. I used ground beef for my filling, and I 'asianified' the ingredients and sauce.
I began by finely dicing and sauteing a Japanese eggplant. Then I added some minced ginger and garlic, then a can of straw mushrooms. A splash of soy sauce and some sliced green onion, then let cool before adding the beef. To the beef I added one beaten egg and a tablespoon or so of chinese five spice powder, then mixed in the eggplant mixture.
Meanwhile, I blanched (3-4 minutes), drained, and iced my collard greens. Then I cut out most of the large vein running down the middle of the greens so they are more pliable. Now you're ready to roll. Place a small handful of your filling in the center of the deveined collard. Fold the sides inward, then roll lengthwise. Wrap each bundle with 3 collards. I ended up with 4 bundles. Then I packed them in an 8 x 10 ceramic loaf dish, poured in some mushroom broth, covered them with foil, and baked at 400° for about 35 minutes. To finish the dish, I topped the parcels with a simple pan sauce (garlic, hoisin and soy sauce) some toasted and chopped cashews and some thinly sliced green onion.
I served these fabulous little meat packages with my favorite cabbage salad. Blanched cabbage and thinly sliced red onion (salted, left to rest, rinsed, then squeezed dry) tossed with rice wine vinegar, salt, sugar, toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, black pepper and cilantro. This time I decided to top it off with some crispy shitakes! The whistles go WOO-WOO!