I've said this before and I'll say it again. Against all odds, my CSA box made me fall in love with collard greens with dishes like braised collard greens with cannellini beans and Indian spiced black eyed peas with braised collard greens. My most recent love is this Turkish collard greens meze, zeytinyağlı kara lahana, where collard greens are cooked with brown rice, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. I served it with my favorite garlic yogurt sos drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with Turkish red pepper.
The collard greens are cooked until tender and the flavor transforms from slightly bitter to sweet. I used brown rice in this dish instead of white rice to make it a bit more healthier, and thus, I cooked it for significantly longer 1 hour and 20 minutes compared to 45 minutes.. The dish is served cold or slightly above room temperature. We loved the zeytinyağlı kara lahana so much that we made it again when collard greens appeared in our very next box!
The first time I made the dish, I used 1/2 cup of long grain brown basmati rice (see photos below). The second time, I used 1/4 cup of the same rice to increase the collard green to rice ratio (see photos at top of post). I preferred it the second way (with less rice) and that is how I've presented the recipe below. If you prefer more rice, just be sure to increase the amount of water used and increase the cooking time, especially if using brown rice.
Turkish Collard Greens Meze (Zeytinyağlı Kara Lahana)
1 bunch collard greens (about 2 lbs), tough stems removed, slice in half lengthwise and chop into 1" ribbons
1/4 cup long grain brown rice, rinsed
1 cup tomato (or canned whole tomatoes), coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno or Italian green pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 yellow onion, about 1/2 cup finely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups vegetable stock (+ 1 cup water if using brown rice)
freshly ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes until soft. Add garlic, stir and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in rice, tomatoes, and jalapenos and cook for 2 minutes. Add vegetable stock and add chopped collard greens. Stir to coat well and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and lower heat and cook gently for 1 hour and 20 minutes, add 1 cup water if using brown rice, and cook until the collard greens and rice are very tender and all of the liquid is absorbed.
Transfer to serving dish, cover, and refrigerate for an hour. Serve chilled or at room temperature with yogurt garlic sos.
3/4 cup yogurt
2 fat cloves of garlic
Turkish red pepper or paprika or red cayenne pepper
In a small bowl, whisk yogurt, garlic, and salt until very smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to allow the garlic flavor to blend into the yogurt. Before serving, drizzle with olive oil and red pepper.