OK, ready for this? It's a fun one, because it involves:
(a) rolling things up into little Southern-goodness-bombs and
(b) making your own barbecue sauce, something I'd never done before.
This recipe is from Veganomicon, my favorite cookbook of the month. Which, by the way, is really starting to grow on me: Many of the recipes are a little more complicated than what I'm used to, but the recipes and notes are so well written that I feel like I learn something new every time I make one of the meals. (Example: "The basic components of a BBQ sauce are something sweet, something sour, and something tomato-y.") And the tone of the writing is funny and friendly, without being annoyingly witty or cloying.
I'm always wary of recipes that require wrapping the main event in some sort of leaf — lettuce, cabbage, or otherwise. I guess I associate them with that idiotic low-carb craze where we all shunned tortillas and rolls in favor of animal flesh and heart attacks. And if needless death doesn't get you, then surely that fact that lettuce leaf wraps always fall apart will.
But not these. Wrapped in collards, these little flavor bundles stay together really well. And what exactly is inside said flavor bundles? Mushrooms, black-eyed peas, chopped collards, and the star of the show -- homemade barbecue sauce!
Before you ask: Yes, you could substitute a store-bought barbecue sauce. But what fun would that be? Doing it yourself is far cooler (and the sauce is probably spicier, unless you have some blazing specialty BBQ in your fridge).
When, in the end, I tested my sauce for flavors, I ended up adding some more vinegar and salt. And in hopes of not killing my wife and unborn baby, I started with half the crushed red pepper, and it's a good thing I did. The sauce was plenty spicy, even for me, and I like spicy stuff.
(reprinted from Veganomicon with permission)