Saturday, March 7, 2009

Stuffed Collard Green Leaves with Bulgur (Bulgurlu Kara Lahana Sarması)

Since vegetables in the cabbage family are in season now, I am making an effort to post my recipes that involves cabbage or its cousins before the season is over. I am a believer of eating vegetables that are in season, although I do occasionally make exceptions.

Stuffed cabbage was another dish that I strongly disliked when I was a kid, especially, the kind with bulgur stuffing. Obviously, similar to many children, I did not understand good food. Instead of cabbage, I used collard greens in this recipe which are mostly popular in the Black Sea region of Turkey. You may also use cabbage with this stuffing. Since I also had a cabbage on hand, I did roll a few of the sarmas using cabbage as you can see in the picture.

For Stuffing:

2 cups bulgur (medium grain)
1 tbsp fresh mint (chopped)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp red pepper paste
4 cloves of garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp cumin
½ cup olive oil
2 tsp salt

1 ½ cup hot water (for soaking bulgur)

For Rolling and Cooking Sarmas:

2 bunches collard greens
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves (sliced)
1 tsp salt
2 cups water

For Garnishing:

1 roasted red bell pepper
3-4 sprigs parsley
½ lemon (sliced)

Soak the bulgur in a large bowl with hot water. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 15-20 minutes until the bulgur is soft. If it is not completely soft, that is fine as the bulgur will be cooking later.

Add all the stuffing ingredients to the bulgur. Mix well with your hands so that all the ingredients are married together.

Cut the stems of the collard greens and discard.

If the collard leaves are too large (most likely they will be), cut them in half or quarters. Half-fill water in a large pot and boil. Put the collard green leaves in the boiling water for 1 minute and remove. Shock the leaves under cold water to stop the cooking process. Gently squeeze the leaves to remove excess water. Let them drain completely.

On a cutting board or a plate, place a leaf the smooth side down.

The wider part of the leaf should be toward you. Place a spoonful of bulgur stuffing inside the leaf.

(I had a picture that displayed the stuffing inside the the leaf, but I must have inadvertently deleted it when I was editing the pictures. After wasting more than an hour trying to retrieve it, I still couldn't find it, so I gave up. You will just have to use your imagination!)

Close the sides and start rolling. This will hinder any of the stuffing to escape the leaf while cooking.

Follow this process for each leaf and arrange neatly in a pot.

When you are finished arranging the sarmas, sprinkle the salt on top. Arrange the sliced garlic on top of the sarmas. Drizzle the olive oil and add the water. Place a plate or two on top of the sarmas so that they do not float around during cooking.

Cook for 10 minutes covered on medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 more minutes. Be cautious not to cook the sarmas too long since the collard greens will be too soft and torn. Garnish with roasted red bell peppers, parsley and lemon slices. Enjoy cold or warm.

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Summer said...

Looks great! i never used bulgur to stuff inside veggies but this is a great idea...i like the taste of "wheat anything" in food.

zerrin said...

Bu sarmalar harika görünüyor. Kara lahana sarmasını hep merak etmişimdir ama hiç denemedim. Bulgurlu sarmayı da duydum ama hiç yapmadım. Bu tarifi kesinlikle kaydediyorum, kara lahana bulamasam da (Eskişehir'de) yaprak ya da normal lahanada uygulayacağım. Ellerinize sağlık...

Mediterranean kiwi said...

i make dolmades (as we call them) with collard greens (silverbeet in NZ English, seskoula in Greek), and they are one of my favorite leafy roll ups.

of course the bulgur strikes me as unusual, we would only use rice. we also make vegetarian and meat-rice versions of these

i love to use a variety of leaves when making dolmades - another delicious (but difficult to find) leaf is sorrel (maybe also known as dock) - let me know if you use it too

Anonymous said...

Yum! Can I have one?this looks great.Is it possible we are becoming in synch..? :) I just bought a cabbage to make what we call in this region:"malfouf" which is a similar version of stuffed rolled cabbage leaves..but it would of been much more fun,if we lived close by and could prepare together..! lots of love,Mia

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Thanks Summer. It does create a different taste; in a good way. In Turkey, for some reason rice has replaced bulgur in many dishes; pilafs, stuffings, etc. It was very common in Southern Turkey. But since I came to the States, I've been away from all these foods and I appreciate it more now.

Zerrincim, tesekkur ederim. Kara lahana sarmasini ben de ilk kez deniyorum. Bulgurlu sarmayi bizim Iskenderun/Hatay taraflarinda ya lahana ile ya da pazi yapraklari ile yaparlar. Buyuk bir ihtimalle Adana, Tarsus taraflari da yapar. Umarim denersin, begeneceginden eminim.

Maria, in Turkey, as a dolma stuffing, they use rice, meat and bulgur. Although, lately, people tend to do it more with rice. I have seen my mom in the past use cabbage or 'pazi' a vegetable similar to swiss chard with bulgur stuffing. I've never used 'sorrel' and not familiar with it; my mom may be.

Mia, please, help yourself! Just grab a few! Yes it would definitely be great to cook together. Cooking together is a fun thing to do. I do look forward to your cabbage dolma recipe.


Anonymous said...

Insallah bir gun bilir.. :)

Sapuche said...

I don't even know what to say. If we were having a conversation I'd just be standing there with my mouth open. (Luckily I can type like this.) Everything on that plate looks so healthy and delicious! I don't often eat collard greens, but this is an excellent reason for me to change that habit. Thanks for posting this!

Selba said...

I'm not familiar with collard leaves but it's so interesting to see this kind of dish, must be yummy :)

lisaiscooking said...

This looks delicious! I've made stuffed cabbage, and collard greens sounds great. I think I say this of all your posts, but I definitely have to try this.

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Mia, kimbilir..dunya cok kucuk.

Sapuche, thanks. Since I've discoverd collard greens, I try to cook it more often due to its health benefits and good taste. It is also tasty just sauted in olive oil with garlic and onions.

Selba, hope you get to try it sometime. It does taste very good.

Lisa, thanks. If you do try it, please let me know the outcome. Enjoy.

Yasmeen said...

Delicious!I once made similar stuffing with the canned grape leaves ,must try your recipe using fresh collard greens ,looks inviting:)

Soma said...

I never knew u could stuff collard greens like this & that too with bulgur. Thanks Nihal for presenting such traditional & healthy recipes. I could just have these as snacks :-) Nice step by step pictures.

Joie de vivre said...

Collard greens to do the rolling?! Well...that is just brilliant!

bent el deera said...

wooow everything looks YUMMY

thank you

Arlette said...

this looks very interesting. never
tried Collard Green leaving stuffed, does it taste like stuffed Swiss Chard?? Your stuffed
eggplants is it Maldoum?
Iam half Turkish my dad is from Adana and we have several Turkish Recipes.

Iam organizing an Arabic Cooking Team, would you like to join us???

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Thanks for stoppbing by Arlette. How cool, your dad is from Adana! Food from Adana is really really good. Have you ever been there? Yes the stuffed collard green leaves do taste similar to stuffed chard leaves. About your question regarding the eggplants, sorry, but I don't know what Maldoum means...

Thanks for offering me to join your cooking team! I would love to but at this time it is very difficult for me to make any kind of commitment. Maybe down the road. I hope you understand. That's a very clever idea. Thanks again and have a wonderful day.