These burrito-style collard green wraps brim with brown rice, plus a saucy simmer of ground beef. The meat is seasoned with the bold, fragrant flavors of a Jamaican beef patty, an amber-hued combination of savory paprika and curry powder – ideally, a Jamaican-style blend – along with the warm island vibe of ground allspice, a floral note of thyme and a kick of fiery cayenne pepper.
Using lean beef keeps the meal healthfully balanced, but you could substitute ground chicken or turkey, if you prefer. You also could swap cooked quinoa for the brown rice. Wrapped in blanched collard green leaves, these wraps make for an exceptionally nourishing handheld meal.
You might be tempted to skip the step of blanching the collards, but you shouldn’t. Blanching is fast and easy, can be done days in advance, and it will make all the difference in the ease of wrapping and eating, turning the leaves from tough and waxy to tender-firm and more saturated green.
I like to serve these wraps taco-style with all the fixings out on the table so everyone can build their own. Although I relish these as wraps, it’s also worth mentioning that the elements can morph into a glorious grain bowl, with the rice on the bottom, followed by a scoop of the meat mixture and the blanched collards sliced into ribbons on top.
Either way, you’re in for a flavorful, satisfying meal.
Jamaican-Spiced Beef Collard Wraps
8 medium collard greens leaves, washed (about 10 ounces)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean or higher)
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder, preferably Jamaican
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 cups hot cooked brown rice
While the water comes to a boil, trim the stems off the collards at the base of their leaves. Place one leaf at a time on a cutting board, top side down, and use a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife to shave down any thick, heavy stem that runs through the center of the leaf. Place the leaves in the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds, then transfer them to the ice water to chill completely. Place the leaves on clean kitchen towels (you may need to alternate layers of collards and towels to stack them) and pat dry.
In a large skillet over a medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and Scotch bonnet or habanero and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in the curry, paprika, allspice and cayenne and stir to combine. Return the beef to pan and stir in the thyme, salt and black pepper. Add the broth and raise the heat to bring to a boil, if necessary, then return the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the scallions and season to taste with additional cayenne and/or salt.
To assemble, place one collard leaf on a plate, scoop 1/4 cup of rice onto the center of the leaf, followed by a heaping 1/3 cup of the meat mixture. Fold burrito-style and serve.
Yield: 4 servings
Make ahead: Unfilled, blanched collard greens may be prepared up to 3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature or warm slightly in the microwave before assembling.
Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter
Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.