Not-So-Dirty Rice with Cajun-Style Collards

Here's a nice southern meal for y'all! Also, here's a nice little tidbit I learned while making this meal: Traditional "Dirty Rice" gets it's name from the chopped up chicken livers which look like brown flecks in the rice. Nice, huh? I think I'd prefer my rice WITHOUT livers of any kind, thank you.
Anyway, both of these recipes come from one of my newest cookbooks, "Vegan Planet" by Robin Robertston. They're listed as separate recipes in the book, but it's suggested they're served together so that's what I did. And it was a good choice. This is another meal that's slightly outside of my comfort zone... I'm not exactly sure why, but it's not something I would not normally choose. But once again, I was happy I decided to try something new! You should note however, that the collards alone would be wonderful but the rice by itself really wouldn't be that great. I thought it was a bit dry and didn't have a TON of flavor. I bet if I added some veggie broth to the mix it would have livened things up a bit. BUT, with the flavorful collards served over the top, it was awesome. You'll notice the two recipes have a lot of the same ingredients- but they took on slightly different flavors, and together, it just worked really well. Give this recipe a try! (Oh, and for the record, I want everyone to know that I really don't ever say "y'all"... I was just trying to sound authentic in the spirit of the recipe.) Ok, now for the good stuff!

Cajun-Style Collard Ingredients
(Serves 4)

1 1/2 lbs. collard greens
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 celery rib, minced
1/2 large green pepper, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. file' powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Cook the collards in a pot of boiling salted water until tender, 20 to 30 minutes (while this is cooking you can prep the rest of the ingredients and get your rice ready to go). Drain. then coarsely chop and set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme, file', and cayenne. Add the collards, season with salt and pepper to taste. and stir to coat the collards with the onion mixture. Simmer until the flavors are blended, about 10 minutes. Serve hot!

Ingredients for Not-So-Dirty Rice
(Serves 4)

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
1 small green bell pepper (or the other half of the large pepper used in the collards!) seeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups vegetarian burger crumbles (I used Smart Ground)
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne
3 cups freshly cooked long-grain white rice

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the garlic, burger crumbles, Tabasco, thyme, salt, and cayenne. Stir to combine and heat through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook until hot, 5 to 7 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings, then serve hot.


Living and Loving in L.A. said...

Yummy! I love Collard greens! What a great recipe this is!
I'm having a giveaway on my blog for a box of vegan Vega bars if you want to enter!!!