Thursday, November 14, 2013

Collard "Cassoulet"

 There is nothing better than cooking with the vegetables of the season and this recipe is the prime example for how that can be so successful!  For just over a year now, my brother's mother-in-law has been raving about this recipe she found in the paper and it took me this long to get it together and finally make it! 

Perfect timing, right?  Fall is the time when the collards produced are, in my opinoin, at their peek!

If you are looking for a hearty side or simply a different entree, this dish will fill all your fall cravings and comes highly recommended by all of those to whom I recently served it and who immediately went silent at the dinner table because their mouths were full!

Collard "Cassoulet"

1 lb. collard greens, stems and tough ribs removed
5 garlic cloves, 1 crushed and 4 chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 cups cooked white beans, 1/2 cup cooking liquid reserved
1/2 cup (plus more if desired) diced or chopped cooked ham-hock meat, sausage, chorizo or bacon
1/3 cup (plus more, if desired) freshly grated Parmigiano-Regiano
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup (plus more, as needed) medium-coarse fresh bread crumbs

Clean your collards and remove the leaves from the stems.
In a large pot, cover the collard greens with salted water and boil over medium heat until tender, about 30 minutes.  
Drain well and chop into small pieces.  
Set aside.  Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.  Vigorously rub the inside of a 10- or 12-inch gratin dish with the crushed garlic.  
Discard the crushed garlic and set the dish aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 8 minutes.  
Add the chopped garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  
Add the collard greens, stir to coat, and cook for 1 minute.  
Transfer to a large bowl.  Stir in the beans, meat, roughly half the Parmigiano-Reggiano, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and rosemary.  Season with salt and pepper.  If the mixture seems too dry, add enough of the reserved beans cooking liquid to moisten.  (If you don't have liquid, use water) 
Spread the mixture in the prepared dish.  
Top with the bread crumbs and remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Drizzle with the remaining olive oil.  
Cover the dish with aluminum foi and bake until the filling is hot and bubbly, 30-35 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake until the top of the gratin is golden and crusty, another 10 minutes.  Serve hot.
Emory had both of his grandmothers there to spoil him and give him ALLLLL the 
attention in the world!

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