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Collard Dolmades with Sweet Potato Yogurt


Sweet Potato Yogurt

½ cup sweet potato puree

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

Zest of one lemon (removed with a microplane)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne

⅓ cup apple cider

¼ cup dried cranberries

10-15 large, intact collard leaves

1½ cups loose uncooked sage sausage (often called country sausage or breakfast sausage)

⅓ cup roughly chopped, toasted pecans

1 tablespoon fresh ginger (grated on a microplane)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper


Sweet Potato Yogurt
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until super smooth.
Collard Dolmades
  1. In a small saucepan or in the microwave, bring the apple cider to a simmer and pour it over the cranberries to rehydrate them. While the cranberries are cooling, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and set up an ice bath nearby.
  2. Once the water is at a rolling boil, drop the collard leaves in 2 at a time, blanching each set for about 45 seconds. Using tongs, transfer the blanched, now bright green leaves, to an ice bath. Continue this process with the remaining leaves.
  3. Once you’ve blanched and shocked all the collards, dry them thoroughly between paper towels and remove the large stem with a knife, taking care to make sure either side of the leaf stays intact.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the (uncooked) sausage, the pecans, the drained cranberries, ginger, brown sugar, salt, and black pepper. Mix on low until the mixture is homogenous.
  5. To assemble the dolmades, cut the collard leaves into roughly 3×2-inch rectangles. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sausage mix onto the lower center portion of the collard rectangle. Using your fingers, shape the filling into a short cigar. Fold the side edges in over the filling. Fold the bottom over, and roll it up like an egg roll.
  6. Continue cutting, filling, tucking, and rolling until you’ve used up all of your filling. Store the assembled dolmades, seam side down, until you’re ready to cook them.
  7. Whatever your steamer situation is (I use a steamer basket at home, like the one you would use to steam broccoli; a bamboo dumpling steamer works great as well, just make sure the dolmades don’t touch the bottom of the pan or the water), set it up and bring the water up to a boil. Place the dolmades in the basket in a single layer, taking care that they are not touching. Cover and steam hard for 10 minutes.
  8. If you need to cook these in batches, they will keep warm in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Serve the dolmades with a swoosh of sweet potato yogurt.
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