by Carrie Hirsch / Serves 4-6

8 large collard green leaves
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and rough chopped
1 pound ground beef or ground pork
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 cups cooked rice of choice (Carolina Gold is perfect!)
1 ¾ cups tomato purée (not flavored sauce)
½ cup vegetable or beef broth
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon

Rinse the collard leaves. Place on a cutting board and cut off the base stems, then carefully trim the leaves off the stem. Fill a 12” skillet with 1” water. Stack the collard leaves on top of each other in the water. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat for 3 minutes. Remove leaves all together by picking up from underneath the stack with a spatula and transfer to paper towels. Lay out separately so they dry. Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 10” skillet and sauté onions and carrots until soft, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a large bowl. In the same skillet, heat remaining teaspoon of olive oil over low heat. Brown ground beef, salt and pepper and then transfer to onion and carrot mixture. Add cooked rice to bowl and stir until well incorporated. Check salt and pepper and add more if needed.

Bring the tomato purée and vegetable broth to a boil in a small sauce pot for 2 minutes, then stir in lemon juice and lemon zest. Lay each collard green leaf on a cutting board. Pack down 1/2 cup of the rice mixture into a measuring cup, then invert it onto the base of each collard leaf. Roll up the rice mixture tightly all the way to the outer edge of the leaf, tucking in the edges of the leaf as you go. Pour half the tomato purée into the bottom of the 10” skillet.  Arrange the stuffed collards side by side on top of the tomato purée then pour the remaining tomato purée over the top. Cover, bring to a boil, then and simmer on low heat for 35-40 minutes.