Just in time for New Year’s Day, these Stuffed Collard Rolls combine all the flavors of the South into one tight little package. Ground pork sautéed down in smoky bacon grease spiked with Cajun spice, infused with rice and black-eyed peas, and all rolled up in a flavorful collard green leaf.
Sauced with tomato gravy kissed with my favorite Pig Stand barbecue sauce and these Stuffed Collard Rolls bake off to down-South perfection. Oh yeah, pass the cornbread, please!
This is one recipe that harkens back to my childhood growing up in Bogalusa, Louisiana. My momma loved making cabbage rolls, and although I’ve never been a fan of eating boiled cabbage, I admit that I always looked forward to this one on the Sunday dinner table. Momma took the time and attention this recipe deserves, and she did it up right every time.
It’s not that complicated; it’s actually quite easy, but there are a few time-consuming steps. In my Stuffed Collard Rolls version, I am detailing the process, and adding a few ingredient twists to my momma’s cabbage-based recipe. If you’ve spent any time at my Acadiana Table, you know about my love affair with collard greens and substituting them for plain ol’ cabbage can only make this dish tastier. And the addition of Louisiana rice and black-eyed peas to the stuffing makes this a hearty combination.
Give this Stuffed Collard Rolls recipe a place in your repertoire of Southern favorites, and I’ll bet your family will be requesting it often.
- 1 (10-ounce) can mild diced tomatoes with green chiles, such as Rotel
- 1 (10-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 cup vinegar-based barbecue sauce, such as Pig Stand
- 2 strips smoked bacon, chopped
- 1 pound ground pork
- ½ cup finely diced yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons finely diced celery
- 2 tablespoons finely diced green bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons diced green onion tops
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup cooked long-grain white rice, such as Supreme
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained
- 1 tablespoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Dash of hot sauce
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
- 1 bunch (8) large collard green leaves
- In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and stir until combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the bacon and pork. With a spatula, break down the ground meat and sauté until the bacon and pork begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, green onion tops, parsley, and garlic, and continue sautéing until the onion turns translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and peas and combine. Turn off the heat.
- Season the mixture with Cajun seasoning, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and a dash of hot sauce. Transfer the mixture to a large stainless steel mixing bowl and let cool.
- To the mixture, add the eggs, bread crumbs, and using your hands, combine thoroughly. Place in the refrigerator to cool for 30 minutes or until ready to stuff the leaves.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over high heat, fill halfway with water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer. Unfold the collard leaves and gently submerge them in the water, stacking them so that they will be easily retrieved. Cover the pan and let simmer and steam until the leaves are tender, 10 to 15 minutes (Use a timer since if left unattended, they may break apart). Uncover the pan and remove the leaves to a tray.
- Lay one of the leaves down on a cutting board and cut away any hard, woody stem at the base. Place a generous portion of the meat mixture in the center. Fold in the sides and roll from the bottom of the stem to the top of the leaf. The amount of stuffing used will vary with the size of the leaf; try to make them uniform in appearance. Continue until all of the mixture is used or until you have at least 2 rolls per guest. Place in an ovenproof baking dish coated with non-stick spray, and pour the red gravy mixture over the top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate (can be done the day before) until ready to bake.
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and add a half cup of water to make sure there is enough liquid in the bottom to prevent burning. Cover tightly and place on the center rack of the oven and bake for 90 minutes.
- Remove the baking dish and transfer the stuffed rolls to a serving platter. Pour all the remaining gravy and liquids into a sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a boil and using an immersion blender, pulse on high until smooth. Taste the gravy and season with salt and pepper if needed.
- For serving, place the platter of stuffed collard rolls in the center of the table and pour over the hot gravy. Serve with hot cornbread.
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