Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tempeh Stuffed Greens with Tomato Sauce

Poor cabbage - it really is the ugly duckling of the food world. Especially green cabbage or even worse, a traditional, Old World European dish like stuffed cabbage leaves. Just that phrase conjures large, older men and women eating stinky cabbage, in the cold dark winter. Truly, not what you are fantasizing about while searching for sexy dinner and luscious looking meal ideas for this week of cupids and valentines.

Until you taste it...then the creamy filling mixes with the greens and sweet tomato sauce into one of the most delicious mouthfuls of bliss.

So just blindfold your love and feed them their first bite. Blindfolds are so sexy!

For the sharp-eyed readers you'll notice that my greens were not cabbage. In this version I used collard greens because of their abundance in my winter garden, but cabbage leaves would have worked just as well. Since my greens were so tender and fresh, I didn't blanch them before using them, but simply allowed the sauce to soften them. If you use large collard greens from the store or green cabbage, simply place a leaf in a pot of boiling water for 10 seconds and remove and drain. Cut out the stem after blanching, not before.

Tempeh Stuffed Greens with Tomato Sauce
(makes 6-9 rolls)

1 package tempeh
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 onion, diced
2 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
pinch pepper flakes
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups prepared tomato sauce (make your own DIY Pantry)
1 bunch collard greens

If the collard greens are large and somewhat tough, bring a large pot of water to boil and blanch each leaf for 10 seconds, one at a time, removing and allowing to drain in a colander. Cut out the stem where it is thick, but ensuring leaf is not completely cut in half. Set aside to cool.

Cut tempeh into 4 pieces and place in small sauce pan with 2 whole cloves garlic and 1/2 cup water. Bring to boil and cover and simmer for 10 minutes until water is almost gone. Remove from heat and mash tempeh and garlic and set aside.

In skillet eat 1 tablespoons olive oil and saute onion, minced garlic and fennel seeds for 2 minutes. Add mashed tempeh mixture, paprika, oregano, thyme, pepper flakes and saute another 4-6 minutes, until mixture begins to dry out. Add soy sauce, salt and tomato paste and cook another 3-4 minutes until all is well combined.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a clean surface, place 1 leaf flat, making sure that the edges where you cut out the stem overlap. Place 2-3 tablespoons of filling along the edge closest to you, leaving 1 inch border on the ends, and carefully roll leaf around the filling like a burrito; roll edge closest to you and fold in ends to enclose roll, and continue rolling until leaf is all rolled up. Place in glass baking dish and repeat with remaining filling and leaves. Pour tomato sauce over all and bake for 30 minutes until top is bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes (they are so hot that it will burn your tongue). Serve.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Black Rice Noodles with Kale, Mint and Basil at Olives for Dinner
Ricotta Fudge with Dried Fruits, Nuts and Chocolate at Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice
Chorizo Queso Fundido at Closet Cooking

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